BookTrust: Survey Says 76% of Parents Think Their Children Prefer Print Books

15847798865_ba224a6e5d_h On Wednesday the UK's leading literacy non-profit released the results of a survey of UK parents. Some 1,500 parents were polled last summer about what they thought their kids' reading preferences were, and the results were released this week.

You can find press coverage at The Guardian and The Bookseller, and the report itself can be downloaded from the BookTrust's website.

At 72 pages long, it's rather dense and I am inf act still reading it myself.  I don't think it can be summarized in a single blog post (The Bookseller tried, and flubbed the headline). So here are a few of the highlights:

  • Most parents have concerns over children using interactive e-books, with only 8% having no concerns. Concerns include that interactive ebooks will:
    • increase children’s screen time (45%),
    • mean they lose interest in print books (35%), expose them to inappropriate content (31%) or too much advertising (27%),
    • affect a child’s attention span (26%),
    • reduce parents’ ability to monitor what children look at (22%) or result in children purchasing add-ons without parents’ knowledge (21%),
    • inhibit learning (14%),
    • harm a child’s brain (10%).
  • Parents want advice about interactive e-books. Almost half of parents would like more advice regarding interactive e-books with 62% of these parents wanting advice concerning how they can be harnessed to support their child’s learning and 58% wanting advice about how they can be used to entertain their child.
  • Print books are the preferred reading format for children. There is a strong preference for print books for reading for pleasure (76%) and educational reading (69%) over interactive e-books (30% reading for pleasure and 34% educational reading) or simple e-books (15% reading for pleasure and 15% educational reading).
  • Even highly digitised households use print books for children’s reading. Although 92% of parents and 73% of children were said to be confident users of technology, only 19% of children use an e-reader daily and 57% never use one despite having one in the home.
  • Half of parents said their children read alone for pleasure. 51% of parents report that their child reads print books alone every day or almost every day, with only 7% reading interactive e-books and 5% reading simple ebooks alone every day or almost every day.

When you read this survey, or the news coverage, it's worth remembering that this was a survey of some 1,511 parents in the UK, who were asked a total of 38 questions about their kids.

In other words, any factoid pulled from this survey report should be assumed to read "Parents said ...", even when it's not explicitly stated.

That distinction is important because, as Carrie Morgan points out on Twitter, there's a huge difference between what parents think their kids like and what the kids actually like. This report tracks the former, but will likely be misreported as the latter.

image by davidmulder61

About Nate Hoffelder (11057 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

4 Comments on BookTrust: Survey Says 76% of Parents Think Their Children Prefer Print Books

  1. We used print books right up until we trusted our kids not to drop and break digital. Costs less. Weighs less. Takes less space. I don’t care how they read just that they do. My nine year old devours Kindle books and my Kindergartener has just started reading and is about to get one too. Angry Birds is bad screen time. Reading? Good screen time.

  2. Have you seen this?
    http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/entertainment-media/outlook/segment-insights/book-publishing.html
    and this:
    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-digital-and-traditional-media-divide-is-irrelevant-among-consumers-says-pwc-us-300092825.html
    “Electronic consumer books revenues will be driven by high tablet penetration. By 2019, digital is expected to account for 45 percent of the U.S. total books revenue.”

    • Electronic consumer books revenues will be driven by high tablet penetration. By 2019, digital is expected to account for 45 percent of the U.S. total books revenue.

      So PwC is still saying that ebooks will make up half of book sales in four years? They’ve said that at least three times before, and they were proven wrong each time.

      But thank you for the links!

  3. I am a school librarian with a massive ebook programme. None of my students use an ereader – they all use iPads with reading apps like OverDrive. Therefore a question about ereader use would result in low usage stats.

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