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60% of Young Americans Use Libraries, 83% Read a Book This Year

By Dennis Abrams

According to a study released recently by the Pew Research Center, 60% of Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 still use their public library, and 83% read a book in the past year.  (Of that group, 75% had read a print book, 19% an e-book, and 11% had listened to an audio book.)

Among the findings:

Of those YA who read e-books, 41% of them used a cellphone, and 55% read from a computer; only 23% used an e-reader, and a mere sixteen percent used a tablet.

47% of those surveyed reported reading long form e-content such as books, magazines, and newspapers.

In an interview on NPR, the study’s main author, Kathryn Zickuhr, discussed the results. She noted that:

“We heard from e-book readers in general [that] they don’t want e-books to replace print books. They see them as part of the same general ecosystem; e-books supplement their general reading habits. And we heard from a lot of younger e-book readers about how e-books fit into their lives — how they can read when they’re waiting in line for class, or waiting in line for lunch. One reader in particular told us that when he has a book he loves, he wants to be able to access it in any format. So with the Harry Potter series and the [Song of Ice and Fire] series, he’s actually bought all of those books as print books and as e-books, just because they matter that much to him…

“We haven’t seen for younger readers that e-books are massively replacing print books. That might happen in the future, but right now we’re just seeing them as a more convenient supplement.”

The main findings in this report, including all statistics and quantitative data, were from a nationally-representative phone survey of 2,986 people ages 16 and older that was administered from November 16-December 21, 2011. The report also contains the voices and insights of an online panel of library patrons ages 16-29 who borrow e-books, fielded in the spring of 2012.

Read the entire report here.

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