Whilst enduring my daily morning commute, I decided to pull out my favourite book, which lets face it, is not just a pleasurable pastime but a survival technique for combatting the roughest terrains and arduous journeys, that would make any I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here contestant wince. I sat down in a packed carriage and pulled out my book and there I was surrounded by what seemed to be a small army of eBook readers, and at once felt like a Wham fan at a One Direction or 1D ( to you and me) fan meeting and immediately something of a luddite as well. They looked mostly aged 16-25 and appeared to chime with my own preconceptions of the young, being the core consumers for eBook readers. It was cutting edge technology occupied by this digitally-friendly class, otherwise known as the “super-connected” group. Surely the Kindle or any eBook reader is welcomed by this demographic with unabashed enthusiasm. Now just to fess up, I’ve even been thinking of abandoning my own up till now rock solid monogamous relationship with the printed book and possibly straying for the seductive charms of an e-book myself. It seems no print stalwart is impenetrable to the allures of the e-book. Dam you eBook !
However contrary to my own perceptions of the young being preoccupied with the e-book, a new study by market analysts Voxsburner has revealed some interesting findings. In fact 62% of the so called “super connected generation” actually prefer print to eBooks, surprising but true, so anyone embarking on the perilous task of buying a uber- trendy present for any 16-24, step away from the eBook now. So rather then snapping selfies, or swapping tips on favourite mobile apps, there is in fact a fondness for the old and quaint. And why I hear you ask ? Well the main reason is that there is an emotional connection to physical books. This is nothing short of a revelation because far from being the quaint musings of thirty-somethings plus a notion which was seemingly the preserve of fuddy duddy tweed wearing types, the literary young set, actually feel the same thing as well ! So far from being seen as poles apart in our attitudes to eBooks, we are actually different but the same. Yet again interestingly enough the study revealed that 28% felt that eBooks should be a half their price while just 8 % think the price is right.
Finally to return to the familiar tropes of the argument which states that eBooks are killing the printed book. Well I say no and Why ? Well because there will always be books that we cherish and love like the classics, making us savour the smell of the pages and aesthetic appeal of the covers, and make us want to slavishly advertise our literary breeding to all and sundry. Yet there will always be the ripping good yarns or modern noirish thrillers that are great but disposable nevertheless, which can happily be read on any eBook device. Thankyou very much!
As far as the laudable aim of getting the young to read more and making technology more accessible is concerned, eBook manufacturers could help by hitting the highlight tab and frankly copy-pasting that very idea by actually lowering prices. They would appeal to their core consumer base and maybe shift more eBooks in the process. Maybe then eBooks could become the device of choice for any self=respecting “super-connected” 16-24 buyer and also the gizmo to go head over heels in love, for those of us who were seemingly married to or in a monogamous relationship with print as well.