That sews up the kids' interest in things digital-bookish, but the parents’ information displays a different trend: Just 6% of parents owned an e-reader, and only 16% said it was a planned purchase in the next year. Despite their seeming reticence to adopt the new tech, parents are very happy for their kids to use e-readers and 83% said their kids were allowed or encouraged to do so.
Not all parents were approving of new tech, and many worried it was denuding their children's abilities to pay attention--the usual sort of worry that gets trotted out by concerned individuals whenever a new tech (be it cell phones or games consoles) begins to impact society in a big way. There are a couple of causes for concern though. One was that 39% of the kids from 9 to 17 in question thought that information online was "always correct."
Now, this last argument may well raise your hackles when you remember that Scholastic is a bookseller, with a big youth market. It is easy to dismiss the data from a bookseller that seems to imply books are good, and e-reading or online reading is bad. But, the Scholastic survey backs up data from a recent Harris poll that investigated e-book use and reading habits among adults, and revealed that 20% of survey responders without e-readers said they'd not purchased a physical book in the previous year, compared to just 8% of e-reader owners.
It also showed that over 50% of e-reader owners read more after buying one than they did before. According to Harris' data, then, e-reading isn't actually damaging the book business too much, nor is it decreasing the affinity for reading books in the general population--quite the opposite. This shines a more forgiving light on Scholastic's survey methods.
In summary, while the younger generation (as with many new technologies) are more likely to push ahead with adopting new electronic reading technology--which is good news for Amazon with its expansive Kindle plans--the physical book isn't going anywhere yet. Unless, and this is a curve ball, you can blame the million-selling Harry Potter books for the trends: J.K. Rowling is not allowing them to be made into e-books yet.
Original blog piece by Kit Eaton (@kiteaton) and can be found here: http://bit.ly/8XTURm