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Young people prefer printed books to e-books, survey finds

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Here’s something to consider when you’re Christmas shopping for that teen or young adult in your family.

Yes, young people spend a lot of time reading and writing short messages on their smartphones, or listening to music and playing games on those and other electronic devices. But there’s one aspect of their lives in which they prefer -- by a large margin, according to one poll -- the old-school ways: reading books.

The British marketing research agency Voxburner recently surveyed more than 1,400 people, ages 16 to 24, about their media-consumption habits. The survey found that 62% of the respondents said they prefer printed books to e-books.

Voxburner spokesman Luke Mitchell told the Guardian that the agency’s researchers heard all sorts of reasons why young people prefer physical books to e-books, including: “I collect,” “I like the smell” and “I want full bookshelves.”

“Books are status symbols; you can’t really see what someone has read on their Kindle,” Mitchell said.

In an earlier report, Voxburner found that a substantial plurality of young people surveyed also said they believe that e-books were too expensive.

What’s more, as the British trade journal The Bookseller put it: “The report suggests that publishers should look at how young people download content, because although about 85% have a smartphone, only 55% have some kind of e-reader.”

“The only reason I haven’t bought an e-reader is because I love the feeling of holding a book in hand and seeing the creases in the spine when I'm done,” a young reader named Zoe told Voxburner. “It’s like a little trophy.”

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hector.tobar@latimes.com

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