Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Scholastic report shows that eBook reading by children has doubled since 2010, while demand for more increases

The eBook revolution is still in its early days, so Scholastic's new national survey, Kids & Family Reading Room, which shows that the percent of children who have read an eBook has almost doubled since 2010 shouldn't come as much of a surprise. According to the study, 46 percent of children haven now read an eBook.

Half of children also say that they would have more fun reading it they had more access to eBooks, also a 50 percent increase.

The study reinforces what Apple has been preaching, that we are in the midst of a revolution in books used in the classroom. The advantages of digital books – the ability to issue electronic updates, low cost of distribution, interactivity – make them ideal for the classroom. The issue has been, and remains, eBook reader access. But more and more classrooms are found to have iPads and libraries are moving towards both eBooks and digital magazines (I hope to have a report on that subject by the end of the day tomorrow).

The study also found that if exposed to eBooks the demand for eBooks grows.
  • Eighty percent of kids who read ebooks still read books for fun primarily in print.
  • Fifty-eight percent of kids age 9-17 say they will always want to read books printed on paper even though there are ebooks available (a slight decline from 66% in 2010), revealing the digital shift in children’s reading that has begun.
"We are seeing that kids today are drawn to both print books and ebooks, yet ereading seems to offer an exciting opportunity to attract and motivate boys and reluctant readers to read more books," said Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer, Scholastic. "While many parents express concern over the amount of time their child spends with technology, nearly half do not have a preference of format for their child’s books. The message is clear – parents want to encourage more reading, no matter the medium."

A side benefit to eBooks, according to the study, was that eBooks are better than print books when attempting to read without revealing what they are reading to their friends. Peer pressure to not be the "smart kid" apparently still exists!