In all of the discussion about e-books and the future of readng, one thing that is starting to emerge is that teens and young adults still want to read and own physical books.
We've seen this in our family as my high school and college-aged nieces and nephew put a trip to the library book sales high on their list of things to do when they visit from Canada, and invariably go home with bags so loaded with books that we run the risk of excess baggage charges. Younger family members also request books as gifts and welcome gift cards that they can use to purchase "real books". To my knowledge none of our family members under the age of 30 owns an e-reader, and those that have tablets don't seem to use them for reading.
At the library we recently explored using teen volunteers to help teach adults how to use e-readers, only to learn that most of the teens don't have or use an e-reader.
This recent article from publishers weekly highlights that while many teens do read digital content, in part because it satisfies their desire for instant gratification, they also want to own the paper version....it seems to be "and" rather than "or" with this age group. And while the article notes that in the recent holiday season Barnes and Noble sold five times as many e-books of Young Adult titles as print ones online, and Amazon also reports that sales of Young Adult e-books outstrip those for e-books overall, I have to wonder how much of that is because of the growing popularity of Young Adult fiction with adults who no longer could be described as young. Just witness the current popularity of The Hunger Games, which is being read by adults across the country, including many book clubs...or these observations from an article in the Los Angeles Times a couple of years ago.
If teens and Young Adults represent the future, then the future of reading may not be as different as some would have us believe!