Most People prefer print|Printing Report blog

Despite the best efforts of e-retailers, the majority of people still prefer print books over digital. Why this is this is the case is still being debated, but the numbers don’t lie and they are saying that although digital is catching up, the vast majority still prefer good old fashioned paper in their hands.

In the world of immediacy that we live in, you would be forgiven for thinking that screens and the internet are everything and that newspapers, books, catalogues, flyers etc. are a thing of the past. Things that your dad used, not you.

Well, the people have spoken and they have done so as a majority: everything in its place, and a place for everything. In other words, there are a lot of things where people will use screens for, but reading books is not one of them.

While the share of Americans, for instance, who have read a book in 2015 is mostly unchanged from 2012, there are more people that did so using the traditional method of bound pages than the ones that used e-books or audiobooks.

The numbers don’t lie – print is vastly more popular

The figures, when looked at closely, are actually quite telling. While a huge 26% of people admitted to reading no books at all in the last 12 months, 38% said they only read paper based books – which is a full 10% more than the people that said they used both digital and paper.

Of those polled, 8% said they only used digital. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a tiny figure. Taken as a whole, the figures would suggest that if digital were taken away 66% of people would still be reading (on paper). With 26% not being readers anyway, that’s a market share neither side had to begin with. And the remaining 8%? The print industry probably doesn’t have a lot to worry about.

Just as an example, the popular store Ikea last year printed 213 million catalogues in 32 languages. That is more than double the distribution of the Bible (there are an estimated 100 million bibles either sold or given out each year). When it comes to marketing strategy, Ikea are pretty hard to beat, so if they are committing so much of their resources to print you know the medium isn’t going anywhere but up.

When was the last time you browsed an online store, and when did you thumb through a print catalogue? Which was the better experience? The answer the majority of you give is the very reason why print is always going to be an important medium for a very long time to come.

Source: Pew Research Center

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