Teens and eBooks

New data from online surveys conducted by R.R. Bowker last fall suggests that teenagers are the slowest age group to adopt ebooks.

The Bowker survey found that 66% of 13- to 17-year-olds say they prefer print books to ebooks. Only 8% of survey respondents reported that they preferred ebooks to print books. These findings surprised me.

One of the big reasons these teenagers cited for their reluctance to read ebooks is that they feel there are too many restrictions on using ebooks. In other words, with teenagers’ propensity toward social technology, these youth are put off by the inability to share digital titles.

Another reason many teenagers gave for preferring print books was that they felt that the size of their mobile screen was not conducive to reading.

If you author or publish books for teenagers, what does this information mean for you?

Since teenagers are slow to adopt digital books, you should not feel rushed to immediately jump on the digital book wagon. You can take your time in researching your best options for moving into digital books.

However, if you publish fiction works for teens, you should be aware that, on average, adults make up 50% of the sales for young adult fiction titles. In other words, adults read young adult fiction also. So, if you publish fiction for teenagers, you may want to move now to make your books available in digital format so you don’t lose some of your adult audience sales.

I have one final thought from the survey to share with you. While teenagers may not be adopting ebooks quickly, they are high users of social technology. Therefore, teens, more than any other age group, are likely to discover a book they purchase via a social network. So, whether you produce fiction or nonfiction titles, social media is an important avenue for your marketing efforts.

May God bless your efforts to reach the future leaders of God’s church and our world.

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