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The vast majority of people who read books via digital formats are still buying paper books too, according to a poll of 1,000 UK adults conducted by marketing solutions and print services provider St Ives Group.

Furthermore, people reading via both formats get through on average 50% more books in a year than those who read only digital or physical books. Readers of both finish an average of 27.3 books per year; more than one per fortnight. The 4% who only use e-readers get through 18.5 annually, while the figure is 17.4 for those just reading paper books.

The survey found 36% of respondents now own an e-reader - up from 10% penetration in 2012 and 22% in 2013*- but just 4% said they only read e-books, while nearly half (47%) say they read both e-books and traditional paper books. With a further 37% only reading paper books, this appears to counter fears that an increase in e-reader popularity could lead to declining interest in paper formats.

The survey also revealed that e-readers are considered convenient and fashionable by consumers compared to paper books, but less tactile, relaxing or natural than their traditional counterparts.

Kate McFarlan, strategic director at St Ives Group’s printing business Clays, said: “Far from e-readers sounding the death knell for traditional publishing formats, our survey shows that people who own digital devices aren’t dismissing traditional books. This can only be good news for the book printing industry. As a business we have always believed that physical and digital books can co-exist, and the research supports our view.”

For more information, please download the full research here: http://www.st-ives.co.uk/about_st_ives/research/1810_are_we_reading_too_much_into_the_rise_of_e-books

*According to Ofcom:


Published on: 4:05PM on 14th April 2014