May 17, 2022

Research Summary: “Printed Books Still Draw Youth in the Digital Era”

Info about a research study from two universities in Australia.

From a University Summary/News Release:

Despite being a tech-savvy generation, research finds that adolescents still prefer print books.

Data from a collaborative one-year pilot study between Deakin and Murdoch Universities has uncovered some surprising findings about the recreational reading habits of teenagers.

“We found that digital platforms are not very motivating. Both regular readers and reluctant readers agreed that paper books are preferred, as they find them more engaging,” said lead researcher Dr Leonie Rutherford, a senior lecturer in writing and literature with Deakin University’s School of Communication and Creative Arts.
The interdisciplinary team of seven researchers focussed on how and where print books, eBooks and other long-form digital texts (2000+ words) were accessed by 550 adolescents aged 10-18, from Victoria and Western Australia.

The data showed that 70 per cent of participants read at least weekly for pleasure and 50 per cent read for at least 15 minutes each day.

The study also uncovered factors that may influence reading material decisions, in addition to age, gender, parents’ education level, and place of residence.


The data also found that a lesser proportion of young people read eBooks on a smart device, compared with a dedicated eReader, despite around 90 per cent of the sample having access to a tablet, desktop, laptop or mobile, while only 24 per cent have access to an eReader.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.