Nielsen Book has recently revealed some interesting and worrying – although not surprising – stats on the reading habits of 4-17 year olds.
Faced with so many alternative forms of entertainment in the form of TV, games devices, computers of all shapes and sizes and smartphones, reading isn’t as popular as it used to be. Now 28% of this age group either never or only rarely read. This figure has risen from 20% in 2012. The newest popular ‘threat’ to reading is the tablet and children’s access to these has doubled over the past twelve months. However, only one fifth of kids use a tablet for reading ebooks.
In the first half of 2013 there was an 8% drop in the number of books sold for the under 17s, and this has been particularly marked at the upper end of that age range. Preschool books continue to sell very well.
But kids are prepared to read digitally. Up to a third of them have read an ebook, and a lot of 14-17 year olds say they now only read books in digital form. This is both on ereading devices (approx. 15% own one) and most likely also on their smartphones since 75% of this age group have these.
Kids aren’t going off reading altogether. There’s no sign of negative attitudes towards it i.e. they still enjoy it. However, they’re doing more of other activities. So it’s up to all authors for these age groups to come up with lively, novel material that can attract attention in the face of all this electronically based competition.