Reading Online Vs Print: Consumer Preferences - pel hughes print marketing new orleans la

Digital readership is popular, whether that’s reading the news on your phone in the morning over coffee or purchasing a Kindle to download the latest best seller. Although less print books and papers are bought than in the past, they are still in circulation because it turns out: people love to read in print.  

When it comes to business, you might use less print advertising and other materials like annual reports, brochures, and direct mail because you can produce many of these items digitally. Although there is a reduction in print, most businesses will still have some materials printed. Today’s business owner has to strike a balance between accommodating its consumers’ needs in both mediums.  

While digital readership is new, there is quite a lot of research on the subject of consumer preferences. Some people are over the moon for digital, it’s eco-friendly, requires less space, and easily transportable. For digital readers, getting a book is as easy as downloading a copy to their tablet or smartphone. A visit to a bookstore isn’t necessary.  

Those who love print, though will continue to subscribe to magazines, journals, and newspapers. A trip to the nearest bookstore is a fun excursion and they bask in the experience of leisurely browsing publications before they make their purchase.  

Statistics on Preferences of Digital and Print 

Although digital reading has many advocates, the actual statistics on consumer preferences are interesting. It turns out that preferences for each medium cannot be attributed to specific generations as many young people enjoy print, too.  

Some noteworthy statistics include: 

  • In 2014, a poll found that 72% of college students preferred physical copies of textbooks to digital ones. Common reasons for this preference included reduced eyestrain, accessibility without Internet access, and the ability to highlight important sections of text.  
  • Of college students who have access to digital textbooks, 50% print them anyway to have a physical copy. 
  • Those who prefer print from ages 18-29, cited a love for experience of print, such the smell and texture of books as the reason for their preference.  
  • In 2018, the book publishing industry made $26 billion, overwhelmingly outselling digital copies. 
  • About 63% of book sales in the UK were made by people under the age of 44, which means that the publishing industry is kept afloat by many age groups, including younger people.  

One professor of education at the University of North Dakota, Virginia Clinton, studied the preferences of print and digital readership. Clinton’s research was inspired by her students’ preferences for print, even though using digital copies of textbooks saved them money. In her research, she found that reading in print produces more comprehension and retention of material than digital. Her research indicated that in instances of retaining non-fiction material, print is certainly preferable to digital.  

When it comes to business, however, companies have to strike a balance between print and digital that suits their unique needs and their consumers’ needs. This process involves careful market research and evaluation of how digital and print advertising is performing.  

Pel Hughes is a woman-owned enterprise that offers in-house printing for direct mail and marketing materials. Our team of printing professionals and graphic designers serve businesses of all sizes in a number of industries, including nonprofits, healthcare, and education. Visit our website and blog to learn more about our services.