Busting Myths on Modern Reading Habits

by Kris Tomes, Associate Digital Product Manager

There are certain things we have come to assume about general reading habits. But armed with survey results, Monique Mongeon from BookNet Canada busted myths left and right at this year’s ebookcraft conference in Toronto. Here are my takeaways from her presentation.

Myth: “People seem to really, really like the smell of print”

Survey says: Only 22% of readers listed “object of art” as their first or second priority when selecting a book to read.

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Credit: Monique Mongeon, BookNet Canada

Myth: “Almost nobody reads ebooks on a desktop or laptop”

Survey says: 58% of readers use a desktop or laptop to read ebooks. (That’s more than e-reader devices!)

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Credit: Monique Mongeon, BookNet Canada

More specifically, millennial readers are more likely to read on a phone or computer than on a tablet or e-reader device.

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Credit: Monique Mongeon, BookNet Canada

Myth: “It’s so easy to search in ebooks, nobody uses indexes”

Survey says: Readers reported using Search and Indexes with nearly the same frequency when reading ebooks. Indexes were used by 42.5% of readers.

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Credit: Monique Mongeon, BookNet Canada

Myth: “Smartphones have us trained to crave that vertical scroll”

Survey says: The majority of readers reported swiping horizontally and tapping the screen in order to advance the page.


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Credit: Monique Mongeon, BookNet Canada

Myth: “Only visually impaired and print-disabled readers use accessibility features”

Survey says: 12% of readers who did not report a print disability said they use screen reader technology.


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Credit: Monique Mongeon, BookNet Canada

Why do these reading trends matter?

So why did I share these busted myths? Because it’s easy to assume we know everything about readers’ preferences. Just because it used to be a certain way, doesn’t mean it will always be that way. But just as the definition of a “book” has evolved, so have readers. It is important to follow changing reading habits so that publishers can continue to improve the reading experience and librarians can continue to best serve their communities.

To read Kris’s recap of ebookcraft 2018, click here.

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