Millennials and Paper Books

Posted January 26, 2016 in Pulp and Paper Industry by Elizabeth Tischer

Publishers Weekly recently released information from a survey that concluded that Millennials actually prefer paper books to digital books; however, the preference levels did not vary by a very wide amount. The responses were obtained from a social media platform. The study was conducted by a writer, Craig Teicher. He has expressed the fact that most millennials do not have any interest in reading books from a tablet, but that they are all for other forms of digitization to ease their lives. Apart from the survey, other studies conducted in the year of 2013 on consumers have stated that the millennials obtain approximately 35% of their media in a digital manner; however, 32% of the media is obtained in traditional ways. Paper books remain to be favored by this group of individuals.


Paper Books for Pleasure, Electronic Books for Education and Work


Books that millennials read for pleasure purposes are often obtained as traditional paper books; however, the same group of people actually preferred the electronic books for educational and work purposes. Individuals that require certain types of books to perform professionally or books to pursue their education do not want to be weighed down by bulky, traditional paper books; instead, they actually prefer electronic books accessible through an e-reader device, such as a Kindle, a Nook, or a tablet. This group knows and understands the impracticality that comes with lugging around traditional books.


Surprising Statistics Given the Amount of Millennial Connectivity


The statistics obtained from this particular survey are quite surprising given the amount of time that millennials spend connected. In fact, out of all of the groups of people in the nation, it has been established that Millennials are the ones that have the highest level of connectivity, demographically-speaking. This group averages nearly 10 hours a day on digital-based devices such as tablets, laptops, and smartphones. In fact, 70% of all millennials have such a high level of connectivity that they exhibit signs of strain in one or both eyes. This indicates that the issue of digital fatigue may be the main reason why millennials prefer traditional paper books to digital books for pleasure reading.


Print Preference


Recently, Baron published a book called, “Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World”. In this book, university students’ print preference is examined. The science behind why paper books are more popular to digital books is outlined. According to the scientific studies, when millennials read eBooks on a screen, they tend to skim over the information presented. Additionally, these individuals often find that they are easily distracted and that their comprehension level is low. Millennials and other groups are often subjected to so many advertisements and information on the World Wide Web, that they skim pages so that the mind is not overwhelmed. Those that read digital books automatically go into the skimming process. As a result, the “reward” area of the brain that becomes active during reading for pleasure is never activated; however, this area of the brain IS activated when reading paper books.




In a world that is nearly 100% digital, many believe that most prefer digital-based books; however, this is not accurate. This is especially true when it comes to millennials. This particular group of people prefers to read traditional books to eBooks. There are many reasons why; however, the top are that reading is not as rewarding to the mind when done through a screen, most skim through the content, and others are often distracted when reading in this fashion. In the past several years, many have felt that traditional paper books would, eventually, become obsolete; however, instead, these types of books are increasing in popularity.


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