According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 37% of Americans claim to only read print books, while 7% read ebooks. (Photo courtesy Unsplash)

By Nicole D. Batey
Special to the AFRO

Although e-tablet or electronic readers, like the Kindle by Amazon or Nook by Barnes and Nobles, enhanced the way people read today, the physical book is still preferred by the majority of readers across the country.

According to, a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center on book consumption and book formats, traditional print is still the most popular reading format for both adults and children. Below are the results of that survey:

  • 72% of adults in the United States read a book in some format over the last year
  • 65% of respondents claimed they read a book in the last 12 months
  • 37% of Americans claim they only read print books
  • 28% say they read both print books and e-books
  • 7% say they only read e-books

A number of older adults are turning to e-books for their source of reading because of convenience and the ability to change the font, making it easier on the eyes to read.

Eric Peck, 74, felt the need to start reading to help strengthen his mind. “When I first started reading, I was using regular books. Then I bought a tablet from Amazon and have been reading books on that ever since. They’re easy to order and pull up when I want to read. Also I have access to multiple books at one time, anywhere that fits in the palm of my hand.”

Alison Penny, 57, agreed. “The older I get, the more I like reading on my e-tablet. I can adjust the font to a larger size and do other manipulations to the e-book I’m reading easily. Also, the app I use will make recommendations of books to read, so I find myself reading more consistently, especially during the pandemic.”

There are some however who still prefer a good physical book. One Baltimore resident, who prefers to remain anonymous said, “I prefer a real book in my hand. I want to use a highlighter or write notes in the book if I’m studying. When I’m reading for leisure, I enjoy turning the pages.”

Over the past 10 years, our nation’s libraries have been offering more book selections in both the physical and the digital format. Maryland uses the Libby app to offer readers the choice of e-book and audio options, and digital magazines are available as well. To access Libby, you can register online or in person at their local branch for a library card, download the Libby app and follow instructions to register. 

The pandemic has also pushed the increase of book sales. Barnes and Noble has reported double-digit sales growth in books over the past year. The retailer says teenagers and tweens are part of the reason for the surge in sales. According to the New York Post, sales of Manga or graphic novels are up by as much as 500 percent at some stores where young adults are crowding the aisles.

Physical books are still in high demand among readers of every age across the country. However, the e-book is making reading more easily accessible to everyone. Whatever your preference, books continue to be a great source of education as well as entertainment.

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