The 5 reasons young people aren't buying ebooks

Posted by Luke Mitchell on 11 March 2014 in Tech

In November, Voxburner released some new research about 16-24s and their digital content habits.

The Buying Digital Content report was based on an autumn survey of 1,420 respondents and qualitative work that took place afterwards to understand spending across categories, content preferences and future buying intentions.

Undoubtedly the biggest story from this research was the number of young people that still prefer print books to ebooks.

This news caught the eye of The Guardian, The LA Times, The Bookseller and popular New York Times columnist Nick Bilton to name a few.

In this premium article we reveal more data from that research, telling the deeper story of ebooks and 16-24s.

Go behind the headlines to find out:

  • What young people actually spend on ebooks each month;

  • What reading devices they own;

  • How their preference for physical books compares with other products like mp3s and CDs, DVDs and streaming, as well as software;

  • Whether their spending will change in 2014;

  • What they think about ebook pricing;

  • The 5 reasons they aren’t embracing ebooks yet.

In the US? For more insights like these below, make sure you check out Youth Marketing Strategy, coming to New York on 12 June 2014.

The 5 reasons young people don’t like ebooks

  • They’re too expensive. This generation is militant about value-for-money. Voxburner research shows they expect ebooks to be far cheaper than their print equivalent;

  • You can’t touch them. When it comes to books, young people want to feel the product in their hands, smell the pages and see the creases in the spine;

  • They don’t have an e-reader. Almost half of 16-24s don’t own a device they would consider reading ebooks on. A quarter say they would read an ebook on their smartphone if they really wanted to;

  • They do nothing for status. Many young people admit they like to show off their bookcase titles or be seen carrying a title that communicates the right message;

  • They resent being enslaved to technology. Contrary to belief, new Voxburner research into youth attitudes to technology – to be launched at YMS this month – reveals that digital natives do not want to spend any more time looking at screens that they already do.

Monthly spending on ebooks

24% of young people are spending some money on ebooks each month.

Half of these however – 13% – spend less than £5 per month.

Three-quarters of young people never buy ebooks.

In this table and others below, average figures are represented by the grey bars.

The gender split is shown by pink (female) and blue (male) bars.