SURVEY SAYS: Reading Preferences

April 28, 2014 ( – Last week, I asked NewsDash readers how much they read and how they prefer to read books and magazines.

Electronic books and magazines have not surpassed those in print as the preference for responding readers. More than six in ten (63.3%) said they prefer to read books in print, while 36.7% said they prefer to read books electronically. Nearly all (93.4%) of responding readers prefer to read magazines in print, with only 6.6% saying they prefer to read magazines electronically.

Nearly one-third (32.3%) of respondents indicated they have purchased more than 20 books in the past year, either in print or electronically. Eight percent said they have purchased none, 21.8% have purchased one to five, 20.2% have purchased six to 10, 9.7% purchased 11 to 15, and 8.1% purchased 16 to 20.

More than six in ten (61.3%) responding NewsDash readers have purchased or subscribed to one to five magazines in the past year, while 16.1% have purchased or subscribed to none, and 12.1% have purchased or subscribed to six to 10. Only 3.2% each indicated they have purchased or subscribed to 11 to 15 or 16 to 20 magazines in the past year, and 4% purchased or subscribed to more than 20.

In the past month 62.9% of respondents read one to five books, 13.7% read none, 14.5% read six to 10, 8.1% read more than 10, and 0.8% said they don’t know how many books they read in the past month. Three-quarters of respondents read one to five magazines in the past month, 8.9% read none, 11.3% read six to 10, and 4.8% read more than 10.

Nearly four in ten (37.7%) of responding readers indicated they normally read books all in print, while 9.8% said they read them all electronically. Nineteen percent read mostly in print, 22% read mostly electronically, and 11.5% said they read equally in print and electronically. Sixty percent read magazines all in print, while 32% read mostly in print, 3.3% read mostly electronically and 4.9% read magazines equally in print and electronically.

In verbatim comments, print also came out as the most preferred method of reading; also, for those who like to fill out puzzles, print works best. However, many touted the convenience of being able to read electronically, especially when travelling. A few readers are advocates of the public library, especially for those who read a lot and for whom buying books can get expensive, and a few touted a method of “reading” the survey didn’t cover—audiobooks. I thought it might be embarrassing to admit that the first thing I do when I get a book or magazine in my hand is smell it, but apparently, I’m not the only one. Editors’ Choice goes to the reader who said: “If they invent an e-reader that can emit the smell of pages bound in leather, I’ll make the switch.”


Love to read. Also love to donate books that I end up not loving -- so print works better for me overall. I haven't found a way to deduct a donated ebook....


Old school - I prefer to read paper. That said, I love my Kindle and Kindle app on my iPad, for traveling, and while waiting in lines, or waiting for people. Very convenient.


Although there are many advantages to reading on a tablet I still enjoy reading an actual magazine or book. Once our current laptop dies I would expect we will get a tablet and begin the transition.


Reading on kindle is great for long heavy books, also great for travel. But I do find a book more pleasurable, when it's convenient.


My first choice is in print, but electronic media is much more convenient when travelling.


God bless the public library.


Although I have some books downloaded to my iPhone and have a magazine that I receive in both print and electronic form, the iPhone is strictly for when I have some dead time and no real books or magazines at hand. Nothing replaces the look, feel and smell of a real print book.


I find that magazines are difficult to read electronically. Also, if there are crossword puzzles or Sudoku or other games where you would fill in a space, you're out of luck with electronic versions that usually don't have fillable fields.


I was an avid reader - until I went back to school for a graduate degree. I had to read everything for content and meaning, and unfortunately that took most of my love of reading away. After 5 years, I finally miss reading and am trying to learn how to read for pleasure again.


I love having my Nook, especially when I am travelling. But, I still find great joy and comfort in a trip to the library to pick up books. Since I read voraciously, cost is a really, really big factor for me, and reading from the library gives me a huge selection and is free!


I am addicted to reading; I will read nutrition labels if there is nothing else available. Of course, I don't enjoy them much! I expected my Kindle Fire would change my life, and while I do still love, feed and use it - there is something so satisfying about holding a real published paper book in my hands that I am glad both are still available. I'm also a bit of a pack rat. Collecting books is fairly acceptable, but hanging on to magazines gets untidy fast, and proper archiving has always escaped me. Best to do the magazines and newsletters online.

Verbatim (cont.)

I have had my mini iPad for 18 months and have been electronically reading at least one book a week - all checked out from my local library in the comfort of my home. My train commute to work is reading and listening to my music all on my iPad - LOVE IT! Will be retiring in less than 2 years so looking forward to reading even more, as I lounge on my patio. Woo Hoo!


Since I've gotten my electronic reader, it never leaves my side, and I always have something to read when waiting -- and sometime while watching TV.


The only thing I don't like about ebooks is the inability to share them. I like having a choice of reading materials without having to carry a lot of books around.


Have 3 readers in the house (two people doing the reading) 2 B&W 1 Color. Prefer the B&W for books color for magazines (pictures). Still prefer the paper magazines but love electronic books - borrow from the library.


Even though you didn't ask, I also prefer reading the daily newspaper in print. It's harder to share the paper with my spouse when it's electronic, and I am addicted to the daily puzzles (Jumble, Crossword, and Sudoku). Hard to do them online.


I haven't purchased any books but I borrow electronic books from the library every week. Listening to a book makes my daily commute a much more enjoyable experience.


Do do much reading of books electronically, so don't really know my preference.


I get most of my books from the library. I'm a fast reader and reading book in print is much easier. The screen is too small on electronic readers and I'm constantly flipping pages. I read newspapers both in print and online however.


Many libraries now allow ebooks to be checked out instead of purchased, which is really nice! I also "read" a lot of audio books, but I'm not sure if that counts!


I love being able to purchase a book on line and be able to start reading. Works great for evening reading.


When e-readers came out, I scoffed at the lack of tactile part of the reading experience. Then I downloaded the nook app on my tablet, and quickly determined the convenience of e-reader is outstanding, especially for travel.

Verbatim (cont.)

I have two library cards and am a frequent borrower. I love my e-reader for travel and ease of transport. I nearly always have a book with me in some form and listen to a book on tape during my daily commute.


I think the causality works this way: if you read a lot, ebooks are a very convenient way to feed the addiction: There's nothing like the rush of getting a new book in less than a minute at 3 am.


First of all, I do read NewsDash faithfully. I have not been reading much of anything else lately, but doesn't stop me from buying! I'm retiring at the end of June, so I'll catch up then (along with my sleep). And, I subscribe to NewsDash personally, so will continue to read that.


I love my e-reader! I don't have to plan ahead when traveling; I always have a book and a choice of books. Plus I have the ability to buy a new book even when I am far from the nearest book store. But I do worry about what will happen to my "library" when the electro-magnetic pulse happens and all our electronic devices stop working... Then I will wish I had invested in hard copies!


While I love having the electronic version of the magazine on my Nook, I really enjoy flipping pages in magazines while my husband watches TV. Mostly habit.


I don't have a preferred method for reading books electronically vs print -- I chose electronically because it's easy to carry my Kindle instead of a carrying around a large book.


As the eyes get worse, electronic media allows me to read more. I can adjust the font and read quickly again. Most electronic magazines are difficult to read as the zoom cannot be customized. I hope it gets improved.


I love to read - it's good exercise for the brain, plus it relaxes me.


BOOKS! Maybe if I owned an e-reader I'd use it. But I like physical books. Besides, they look way better on my bookshelves that the electronic versions.


Besides the ease of carrying around your reader, it is so much less expensive and you don't have to deal with full bookcases.


If you've ever seen a teenager's texting grammar (and some adults), I think we should just be thankful that people are still reading at all!

Verbatim (cont.)

Do we really have to do everything in life electronically? Real books are precious and you can always "access" them without battery power or hoping the electronics work today.


Other than professional journals, I read for relaxation. An electronic screen is not relaxing.


This girl is old school - I prefer to read in print.


I tend to read more books electronically because the one's I want to read can be purchased right away and I can start to read immediately rather than waiting for the book to become available at the library.


#1 it is much enjoyable to hold the book/magazine in our hand. Holding an electronic device just doesn't do it for me. Short subjects are OK to read electronically but I just can't get into reading books that way. Turning a page is so much better than swiping the screen. I can't put it into words but holding a book is soooooo much better. #2 I look at a computer screen all day. I don't want to read my books that way. Too much computer is not a good thing.


I read every day. I bought a Kindle because I travel and that eliminated a suitcase. Now I want all my favorites in the Kindle so that I have them no matter where I am. Technology can be cool. 🙂


Since I got my first Kindle (I'm on my second) I am almost always in the process of reading a book. The backlight Kindle makes it easy to read in bed.


I tried e-books for a while and thought I might make the switch...but I discovered that actually holding a book and turning the pages is part of the fun. I felt like I lost the history of a book when I read it on-screen.


Unmentioned in your survey were audiobooks, which is how I do most of my reading nowadays.


Most of my reading is done electronically, however I wouldn't say it's via a magazine or book. My favorite part of the week: Sunday morning newspaper (print) with a big cup of coffee.


I am an avid reader, at least several chapters a day. I believe it keeps the mind sharp and I find it very relaxing. I love historical novels, especially about Colonial America. I'm a hoot at cocktail parties because I have all this useless information from my reading that I can't help sharing. My husband and I just bought eReaders and we love them! I have about 10 more hard cover books to finish up and then I'm a 100% convert to eBooks. They are easier to handle, great for travel, and we seem to finish books faster in this format.

Verbatim (cont.)

Some older books aren't in electronic media yet so of course, I read those in print. I am a member of; where I get most of my books, so of course they are in print media. However, I am constantly purchasing books for my Kindle as I hear about them. Technology is wonderful!


At my age and Eyesight my Kindle has been a great blessing. However the Magazines usually are not formatted well for the Kindle, so they are usually read from paper.


This survey does not include audiobooks, which is the reading format that I use the most. I read / listen on the daily commute. Please don't tell me that listening to a book is not reading because I will counter that listening to a book is how many blind, low vision and auditory learners read and ingest information and stories. I'm part of a growing trend of audiobook readers. According to a Wall Street Journal article. "Audio books have ballooned into a $1.2 billion industry, up from $480 million in retail sales in 1997. Unit sales of downloaded audio books grew by nearly 30% in 2011 compared with 2010, according to the Audio Publishers Association." (


There are pros and cons to each medium. However, being in the boomer generation, old habits die hard...a comfortable chair, a sunny window, a favorite beverage and most importantly a well written, engaging paper (book, magazine or newspaper) - is a welcome respite in a hurried world.


I like the 'feel' of a book - just as I like the 'feel' of the Sunday newspaper. What good is reading if you can't stroke the pages?


I am fanatical about keeping my books in pristine condition. So when I travel, or bring a book to read a lunch, it is usually electronically. However, at home I read books in print and have an extensive library. How many books I read a year, about 125 -150.


I used to read a book a week when I was carpooling to work. My e-reader was perfect for that, because it was lightweight, portable, and back lit. Since the company no longer subsidizes the car pool, our pool has broken up, and sadly, I'm down to one or two books a month.


So far my preferred method of reading books is in print because I don't know any better. I haven't tried it on my iPad yet. Maybe I'll find it more convenient than print. However, I don't want to bring my iPad on vacation for fear of losing it, so I will buy print books to bring on vacation. So I'm back to just print!


I read a lot but I don't purchase books. The only money that exchanges hands is in the form of overdue library fees I invariably end up owing.


I just really like the feel of paper and the heft of a book. I guess that shows my age....


I read my daily newspaper electronically; I receive the Sunday paper in print, but would gladly skip that. I subscribe to several auto enthusiast magazines, which are constantly hawking their online editions. So I have to pay extra above my existing paid subscription to use a device I paid for to use internet access I paid for so that they can cut printing and shipping costs? How is this a viable business model? Especially when they are all-Apple and I don't happen to adhere to that particular cult.

Verbatim (cont.)

If they invent an e-reader that can emit the smell of pages bound in leather, I'll make the switch.


Received a Kindle for Christmas. Books are cheaper electronically but I prefer to hold a real book.


I am one of those people who thought reading books electronically was horrible, until I was given an iPad mini and can read books using the library system. Still do like to curl up in a chair, by the fire, with an interesting book! As for magazines - professional type I find easier to read electronically, social type, I prefer in print.


I tend not to buy books but rather to get them out of the library. Usually 4 a week


I'm an avid reader, depending on how busy my schedule it. I do not like reading electronically because after spending a good portion of my workday staring at a computer, that's the last thing I want to do during my time off. Besides, I like the feel and smell of a book, especially old ones.


I just read my first book electronically and I've started two more. I'm not sure if I'll convert to being 100% electronic which is why I'm trying a couple more.


It takes me months to get through 1 book due to the never ending list of investmentpension401k reading.


I like the feel of a book and my hand and pleasure of turning pages.


I read nearly constantly and still much prefer actual books.


love print - tried electronic - find it less than desirable


As someone who originally resisted an electronic reader, I must say that I love my Kindle! The ability to carry all those books at once is incredible and I never have to worry about what to do if I finish a book on an airplane - I just start another one!

Verbatim (cont.)

I used to hardly ever read books but when I first got my e-reader for Christmas, I read at least 20 book in a matter of weeks! LOVE IT.


I love books in print but my Kindle is so much more convenient, weighs less, and is easier on my arthritic thumbs.


I started reading electronically when I fell and hurt my foot a few years ago. It was easier to buy books online than to go to the store. I still read paper books, but it is so easy to have my mini iPad in my purse. I sneak it out and read a few pages while waiting in lines at stores and you never know when the doctor's office is backed up and you can finish off the current book and start on the next one. Last year my sister challenged me to read a book a week. I read 115 books. 60 electronically and 55 on paper.


My wife said it best; "Electronically, of course!" "My outfit cost x-hundred, the purse another x-hundred and the briefcase x-hundred, not to mention the shoes, glasses, etc for x-hundreds, too. I don't look like I read trashy romance novels." Love her dearly but, honey I know better.


I am an avid reader of mysteries and keep a spreadsheet to track my books. I read almost 300 books last year and carry one with me wherever I go. While I love my iPad for all it has to offer - games, email, apps - I still like holding books in my hand when reading and haven't made the shift to electronic media yet. I dread the day when I will be forced to do so, but until then, I happily borrow from the local library and purchase hardcovers from


I use my library extensively and like to hold a hard copy book. Guess I am old fashioned!



NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.