A new report has confirmed the increasing popularity of physical books over e-readers – especially on holiday where paper is the ideal companion.
So how was your holiday? Go anywhere nice? Lots of sun? Hopefully, you have managed to get a summer break and are now dealing with the barrage of questions about your holiday. But while it’s likely you will get plenty of enquiries about the destination and weather, you won’t get too many about your reading matter.
For many people, the chance to settle down with a book by the pool, on the beach, or on the campsite is one of the delights of a summer holiday. Hours of time to fill, uninterrupted by emails, calls, texts or alerts, is the ideal recipe for relaxation and the perfect time to catch up with some non-work-related reading.
But while what you read is frankly none of our business, did you lean back in the lounger with a physical book or an e-reader? If you idly worked your way through a paper book then you’re in the global majority of readers that prefers paper to digital.
A new study by Stora Enso has found that 65% of people around the world prefer reading physical books, as opposed to 21% who prefer e-books – that’s over three times the amount of people.
Having surveyed 2,400 book readers of all ages in the UK, France, Germany and the US, the international paper makers discovered that the French showed the strongest preference for physical books, with most respondents saying they prefer to read to get quality time alone.
“These results confirmed our expectations that the market for physical books is set to stay strong,” said Jonathan Bakewell, VP, Head of Segment Office and Book Papers at Stora Enso. “People have begun rediscovering reading, partly prompted by the pandemic, where many were tethered to their screens all day for work or school, then didn’t want to take them to the sofa when it was time to relax.” It’s this disconnection that seems to be driving the continuing popularity of paper books, with the look and feel of the physical object adding to the reading experience. Some respondents in the Stora Enso survey even cited the smell of a physical book that could evoke pleasant memories.
But when you consider the beach or poolside environment, it’s clear that physical books have the edge over their digital cousin. Whether it’s the ease of reading under harsh sunlight, lack of concern about it getting covered in sand, or not worrying about the battery life, paper books are the ideal holiday companion.
One of the other major advantages of print in the eyes of book readers is its sustainability and major contribution to the circular economy. Stora Enso reported that 42% of readers said they like to keep books when they finish reading them, while 26% loan or donate them. A further 26% sell their books and the remaining 5% recycle them.
The question was then posed about whether the respondents would pay more for carbon-neutral books, and an overwhelming majority said they would, with 61% saying they would be willing to pay on average 5.7% on top of the retail price. Given the paper industry’s excellent record for cutting carbon emissions and offsetting any remaining emissions, it stands head and shoulders above digital media when it comes to sustainability.
So next time you’re sitting on a beach or by the pool, take a look around. Chances are that most of your fellow holiday-makers will be engrossed in a paper book, being sustainable, one page at a time.
To find out more about the Stora Enso report, go to www.storaenso.com