America's Facebook Generation Is Reading Strong

Play associated audio

In what may come as a pleasant surprise to people who fear the Facebook generation has given up on reading — or, at least, reading anything longer than 140 characters — a new report from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project reveals the prominent role of books, libraries and technology in the lives of young readers, ages 16 to 29. Kathryn Zickuhr, the study's main author, joins NPR's David Greene to discuss the results.


Interview Highlights

On the reading habits of young Americans

"We found that about 8 in 10 Americans under the age of 30 have read a book in the past year. And that's compared to about 7 in 10 adults in general, American adults. So, they're reading — they're more likely to read, and they're also a little more likely to be using their library."

On the use of e-books among young readers

"We heard from e-book readers in general [that] they don't want e-books to replace print books. They see them as part of the same general ecosystem; e-books supplement their general reading habits. And we heard from a lot of younger e-book readers about how e-books just fit into their lives — how they can read when they're waiting in line for class, or waiting in line for lunch. One reader in particular told us that when he has a book that he loves, he wants to be able to access it in any format. So with the Harry Potter series and the [Song of Ice and Fire] series, he's actually bought all of those books as print books and as e-books, just because they matter that much to him ...

"We haven't seen for younger readers that e-books are massively replacing print books. That might happen in the future, but right now we're just seeing them sort of as a more convenient supplement."

On the changing role of libraries for young readers

"We found that [younger people are] very interested in the idea of preloaded e-readers — being able to check out an e-reader at a library that already has some popular titles on it. And a lot of libraries are really looking at how they can engage with this younger age group, especially with Americans in their teens and early 20s. And so a lot of libraries are looking at ways to sort of give them their own space in the libraries, have activities just for them. Some libraries even have diner-style booths for the teens where they can just socialize and hang out, and so that they can think of the library as a space of their own."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Not My Job: Chance The Rapper Gets Quizzed On Saran The Wrapper

Chicago hip-hop superstar Chance the Rapper got his name because nobody believed a guy named Chancelor Bennett could rap.
NPR

At The Purple Pie Place, Where The Crusts Are Just Sweet Enough

Bobkat's Purple Pie Place is a fixture in Custer, S.D. From chicken pot pie to strawberry rhubarb, Trevor Yehlie and his family have been baking and serving pies at the local favorite since 2009.
NPR

Empire Strikes PAC And Other Punny SuperPAC Names

My Cat Xavier For a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow superPAC backed Hank the Cat in the 2012 Virginia Senate election. Xavier also cared about naps, treats, and prison reform.
NPR

Despite Host Controversy, Amazon Takes A Chance On 'Top Gear'

The trio that made Top Gear the world's biggest car show will return to the small screen in a new show for Amazon Prime. The BBC canned one of its hosts last year after a fight with a producer.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.