Delegates heard from William Higham of agency Next Big Thing, which conducted the research. Higham reported that 56% of 18-24s think people will still be using bookshops in 20 years' time. Looking deeper into 18-24 year olds' reading habits, he found that 28% were favourable towards the idea of e-readers, compared to 9% of 65+ year olds, and 40% liked the idea of downloadable chapters of books, compared to 7% of 65+ year olds.
Makes you want to run right out and buy an e-book reader, doesn't it? To prove that you're still young and in the swing?
And more, from a panel on the topic:
Speaking at a panel session after the research was presented, Transworld publisher Bill Scott-Kerr said the statistics about younger readers all pointed "to where we as publishers are going in the future". He added: "We all know the book is a great piece of technology - you can't drop e-books in the bath. But we as an industry are in a lot of trouble; we don't know where we are going."
The opposing point of view on the panel was this:
The Book People c.e.o. Seni Glaister was more positive about the future of the book. "Content is king - always. As an industry I hope we don't spend too much time worrying about technology and let's protect our copyright, make sure downloads are available - but as content providers we shouldn't worry too much about technology."
Hmm. The statistics above didn't cover my demographic, but I must say, "shouldn't worry too much about technology" seems to me a bit like the naysayers who said the internet, like rock 'n roll, would never last. It's coming, my dears. I may not use it, and you may not use it, but it's coming. And I wish publishers wouldn't say "we don't know where we are going."
All of this information is available from The Bookseller for a measly 195 pounds. That's right, pounds. Make that about $400 at today's exchange rate. Commenter Barbara made me laugh when she posted this:
You have to worry a bit when you have to pay that much to read about the future of reading. Why is industry research so expensive? I guess reading such information is an unnecessary luxury; either that, or not of general interest so priced for a very tiny niche. No wonder the industry is in trouble.