A new report from Bitkom reveals that 63% of Germans now own a smartphone, but only a minority read ebooks on them. A survey of 1,013 German consumers found that the leading uses for smartphones were making calls (100%), taking photos (98%), and browsing the web (93%).
Only 23% of respondents read ebooks on their smartphone, a far smaller figure than those who send text messages (71%), watch videos (47%), or play music (68%). Other common uses include accessing a social network (70%), reading news (67%), and play games (64%).
At this point you’re probably thinking that I screwed up the title, and that the 23% statistic doesn’t justify the claim that most German smartphone owners read on their mobile device.
That wasn’t an error, but a deliberate decision to challenge your assumptions.
There’s been a surge over the past few months of articles that proclaim that this group or that group prefer to read on paper. While the details shared in those articles are generally true (when they’re not outdated) the conclusion is, in general, false.
Browsing the web and getting your news on a mobile device are both examples of reading activities which are often overlooked when journalists report on reading preferences. These activities are quite common, and I don’t know of very many people who prefer to avoid getting their news online in favor of paper.
I would argue that unless you can show that a person prints out their emails and other web content so it can be read on paper, you cannot conclude they have a preference for print over digital.
This does make me obsessive, pedantic, and nitpicky, but it doesn’t make me wrong.
image by Tommy Hemmert Olesen