Narrower gap between paper and e-reading

Although most Shanghai residents still prefer traditional reading, the trend of digital reading is boosting, a survey on local people's reading habits released Tuesday shows.

Nearly 47 percent of Shanghai residents prefer reading physical books, while 25 percent prefer to read books digitally, the latest survey of the city’s reading habits showed.

More than 4,900 people were surveyed both online and offline by the city’s press and publications administration. Although more people prefer paper books for serious reading, the gap between traditional and digital reading is narrowing.

The young readers are the major users of electronic products and digitization allows them more choices of how they read.

According to the survey released yesterday, over 55 percent think paper books are the most effective way to absorb more from the books, while about 15 percent say digital reading works better. 

The gap between the two figures narrowed by 4.9 percentage points from the previous year.

The top reasons for choosing digital reading are ease of accessibility, the wide range of sources, cost and ease of searching.

Shanghai residents read an average of seven paper books last year, and more than 20 percent of local residents read 10 books or more. Young people aged between 7 and 18 read an average of eight books last year.

More than 26 percent of residents purchase books online as their main method of gaining reading materials, followed by purchases in bookstores and borrowing from libraries. 

Over 40 percent of people said they hardly ever read newspapers, an increase of 10.4 percentage points from last year, but residents’ reading time with paper books is increasing.

But the survey also highlighted problems of digital reading. More than a quarter of the respondents felt it caused eye fatigue.


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