Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2012 Issue

Survey Shows that Despite Popularity of E-books, Printed Books Still Lead the Way

Pew e-readers

Pew survey discloses where printed books and e-readers are favored.

Pew Research recently issued a report on electronic versus traditional reading, and it contains its share of good news, even for those with a deeper interest in the printed word. E-books appear to be encouraging people to read more, not just change how they read. Meanwhile, even e-book readers continue to read printed editions, the traditional format remaining preferred for certain uses. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, people are more likely to buy (rather than borrow) e-books than printed ones. The availability of downloadable electronic editions has not become a means to avoid compensating their creators, as happened with music a decade ago.

Pew's survey revealed that 21% of American adults read an e-book in the past year. That was as of February. In December, the number was only 17%. The sudden spike is attributed to the large number of electronic readers given as gifts during the holidays. On any given day, four times as many people are reading an e-book now as was the case less than two years ago.

The growth in e-book reading is not entirely cannibalization of printed books. Pew found that the typical e-book reader read 24 books during the past year, as compared to 15 for the non-e-book reader. The initial reaction to that is of course, those who bought e-readers were most likely people who read more books than the typical reader. However, 42% of e-book readers said they are reading more now that material is available in digital format. This increase was most noticeable for men and those under the age of 50. That is particularly noteworthy since the survey found that men, and younger people, read less than women and older people. Electronic books may be spurring on the most reluctant of readers.

Despite the rapid growth of electronic reading, printed books still dominate the field. As of December, e-book reading may have quadrupled to 17% of the adult American population, but 72% had read a printed book in the previous year. Another 11% had listened to an audio book. What may be surprising is that on any given day, the owner of an e-reader was more likely to be reading a printed book than an electronic one. Only 49% of e-reader owners were reading an e-book, while 59% were reading a printed book. The numbers for owners of the e-reader's cousin, the tablet computer, were even starker. Only 39% of tablet owners were reading an e-book on any given day, while 64% were reading a printed book.

Perhaps contrary to conventional wisdom, readers were more likely to pay for an electronic book than a printed one. Leaving aside the potential for illegal downloading, free books can be downloaded from many if not most libraries today, often from home. Nonetheless, 61% of e-book readers preferred to buy their books, versus 54% for printed book readers.

Pew asked those e-book readers who had also read a printed book (the vast majority) for which uses they preferred each. Electronic books was easily the winner for those who wished to get a book quickly (83%-13%) and who liked to read while traveling or commuting (73%-19%). E-books were also the preference of those who wanted a wide selection from which to choose (53%-35%). It was a virtual tie between the formats for those who like to read in bed. When it came to sharing books, somewhat surprising was that printed books were preferred 69%-25%. Those who are tech savvy can undoubtedly figure out how to connect two electronic readers, but it's still not as easy as handing someone a book. Where printed books totally dominated, however, was for a use that will bring great joy and relief to those who love and collect printed books. Dual platform users preferred printed books for reading with children by a margin of 81%-9%. There has been considerable fear that the next generation will not even know what a printed book is. Based on this survey, it appears that a real, physical book still is the best way to introduce and share reading with children. If children start out this way, they will know, and hopefully love, the printed word all of their lives, even if they do more reading on electronic devices. New generations of book collectors may still be being formed everyday, even as the electronic world swirls around them.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €

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