E-Books On the Rise, But So Are Paper Ones

Jan 23, 2014

Old-fashioned books are holding their own in a world of e-readers, according to a new online survey. 

E-books are on the rise, but may not be replacing print formats.
Credit Johan Larsson

The Pew Research Center reports that in 2013, a bigger percentage of American adults read e-books.  But there also appears to be more people reading more print books.   That could indicate people aren’t necessarily giving up one for the other. 

Rhinelander Library Director Ed Hughes says the findings are surprising.

“It’s a different kind of equation than what I, and I think everybody assumed:  that there would be a tradeoff between paper and digital.  But that turns out not to be the case.” 

Hughes says libraries are mirroring the trend.  Last summer was one of the biggest ever in terms of library usage in Rhinelander.  Hughes says the library is also involved with the state’s Digital Library network, which makes e-books and audiobooks available for check out.  

“We’ve contributed 6000 a year – we’ve gotten a grant the last couple years to pay that.  But that money buys new books that get into the digital library.”

The Pew survey shows 70 percent of American adults read a print book in the past year, while 28 percent read an e-book.  Only four percent of respondents said they read only e-books.