Exclusive research conducted by Voxburner for The Bookseller showed that while nearly three-quarters of young people said they prefer the print form, only 27% prefer e-books and 31% said they don’t buy e-books at all.
The survey questioned more than 900 young people in the UK about their book habits.
Luke Mitchell, director of Voxburner, said the research found people in the 16-24 age group think e-books are too expensive. “They told us they like to touch books and see the creases in the spine, but for bargain-driven young people the conversion to e-books will most likely be determined by price," he said. "In our research, 70% said that £6.99 was a reasonable price to pay for a paperback but only 10% were prepared to pay the same for an e-book.”
When it comes to paperbacks, 37% of young people said they would pay £5.00-£7.00 and 35% said they would pay £3.00-£5.00. However, they are less willing to pay as much for e-books, with 43% saying they should cost less than £3.00 and 27% saying they should cost between £3.00 and £5.00.
Out of those who read e-books, 39% use an e-reader such as a Kindle, 37% opt for their smartphones and 36% prefer a tablet device.
Mitchell said the research showed that young people are “as interested and invested in books as they ever were”.
A huge number – 81% - spend their own money on books. Online retailer Amazon was the most popular sales channel, used by 75% of respondents, but high street bookshops were also in favour, with 73% of young people choosing to buy their books through this channel. Some 37% purchase titles at supermarkets, 37% go to charity shops, 34% use independent bookshops, and 13% use online retailers other than Amazon.
Many young people also use libraries, with the research showing that 44% regularly go to public libraries while 66% use a college or university library. More than half (53%) said they would borrow e-books from public libraries if they were readily available.
When asked about social media, 49% said they have joined an online fan group, 40% have followed an author on Twitter and 20% read blogs about books.
Mitchell also asked the respondents to name their favourite book. Big name children’s and YA writers came up several times, including Roald Dahl, Cassandra Clare, JK Rowling, Anthony Horowitz and Malorie Blackman. However, adult novelists such as Nicholas Sparks and Cecilia Ahern were listed several times, as were classic writers Charlotte Bronte, George Orwell, Jane Austen and F Scott Fitzgerald.