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Nearly All German Smartphone Owners Use One to Read

174725298_cec7be321e[1]Smartphones: Everyone has one, but we don’t all use them in the same manner.

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 While the details shared in those articles are generally true (when they’re not outdated) the conclusion is, in general, false.

The only way that you can conclude that digital natives, for example, prefer to read on paper is to ignore the fact that those same digital natives are getting their news on the web.

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.

Bitkom via Boersenblatt

image by Tommy Hemmert Olesen

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anonymous March 29, 2015 um 2:13 pm

>At this point you’re probably thinking that I screwed up the title,
>This does make me obsessive, pedantic, and nitpicky, but it doesn’t make me wrong.
I still think you screwed up the headline. It is at best extremely misleading, or even outright dishonest, which is something I frankly wouldn’t expect from this blog. Facts in the headline should match a reasonable assumption about facts you’ll find in the content. This doesn’t.

You could technically say that most drivers are constantly reading while driving their car. They are after all reading road signs, the speedometer, and and occasionally even the clock. Most people would call that a nonsensical explanation which doesn’t match the implication in the statement. Putting something like that in a headline, however, is so wrong it’s not even clickbait.

puzzled March 29, 2015 um 5:26 pm

Not to mention 'reading' the news on the radio…

Smoley March 29, 2015 um 4:34 pm

Following your logic you could also say that I use my 8 year old Motorola flip phone to read as well since I typically look at the screen to scroll through a contact list before I call or text.

Nate Hoffelder March 29, 2015 um 5:58 pm


Smoley March 29, 2015 um 4:35 pm

Also, what the heck is a "digital native"?

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