Are eReaders more popular among older people?Young people have embraced new technology while older people have caught on. However, are eReaders more popular with older people, say 40 or older? I...

Are eReaders more popular among older people?

Young people have embraced new technology while older people have caught on. However, are eReaders more popular with older people, say 40 or older? I don't know a young person who has one, but know older adults who do and love them. The young people I know say they wouldn't want an eReader and would find it difficult for reading, this despite the immense time they spend on laptops. What do you think? What is your experience? Are older people more inclined to use this piece of technology? If so, why?

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kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

My bookseller expert connection says that the top e-reader selling group is 40-50. The second top group is high school and college students. Older-than-50 people do not buy e-readers. She laments that "even little kids ...!" buy e-readers (laments due to very large electromagnetic field emanations--not healthful). Expert reference to current trends at Barnes and Nobel as well as the now defunct Borders Book Stores.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This is difficult to say, as I am not part of the age range you specify. I have a kindle myself, and find it greatly useful and very convenient, though I still would prefer a book. I do tend to think that ereaders are being used more by younger generations than older generations, though I have no evidence to support this.

stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

It's too early to say - eReaders haven't been available long enough for any validity to any market trends as yet. There certainly are some valid selling points in the ways in which eReaders can accommodate different needs for readers of all ages, including "older people", but there are also lots of seniors who grew up holding books and turning paper pages and who still feel that's the proper way to read a book. I'm one of them!

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There is no doubt that eReaders are growing in popularity with everyone--including older people--but most ol' timers like myself prefer the antiquated method of turning the pages of a book. A poll was taken in one of my college classes recently, and nearly 50% of the students preferred the eReader; however, all of the older students in the class chose to remain reading books.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

My brother bought my parents (who are in their 70s) eReaders and they use them all the time.  In addition to being much more likely to read than younger people, or those working full time and raising a family, older people are also much more likely to suffer from vision issues, and having an eReader where the size of the print and the background/font color can be changed to the most easily visible contrast for each individual is a plus.  My parents can also read from an eReader without having the light on while the other one can sleep.

lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I think that ereaders are a relatively straightforward technology that even less savvy older people can do with ease. People 45 and younger have lived all of their adult lives with personal computers and are likely to work with a computer every day. Once the book is loaded in, the reader is ready to do its job. There isn't much that can go wrong  and there are no complicated procedures to follow after that.

missy575's profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I find my AP students have begun investing in eReaders, and their mothers who read frequently (in their 40s) both embrace the eReader. The reason is becoming simple: economics. My AP English students take notes in their eReaders with every book they read. Should they revisit that novel in college, they already have thoughts and perspectives recorded in one simple place.

Mothers of teenagers often find themselves in unchartered territory after staying very engaged with their children for their entire lives. The eReader is a small investment for a longer term pay-out.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think older people like e-readers because they don't want to go to bookstores.  It's more convenient. That’s why my 80-year old grandmother bought a kindle. I would argue that young people are more likely to have other devices such as iPods and iPads that include e-readers and won’t buy a device that only lets you read books because there are other options that do more.

pacorz's profile pic

pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

My first thought was along #2's lines- the young ones don't read enough to justify having an eReader. Of all the students I see in a day, I can only think of two who are avid readers, and they both read on their laptops.

I think another difference occurs in reading matter. While older readers choose mainstream books to read, the younger generation reads things that are not yet available for eReaders; graphic novels, peer work on sites like fanfiction.net, etc.

I also suspect that eReaders lack appeal to younger readers because they are not interactive enough.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Isn't it because older people are the ones much more likely to be hanging around reading books?  That's my impression.  I think that younger people don't really tend to read much and so they would be much less interested in having and using eReaders.  Now that we've gotten far enough that even older people like me at least went to college using computers (Class of '90), there's not as much reason for older people to be unable to use simple technology like that.  So we old people know how to use them and the younger people aren't yet into reading and don't need them.  That's my take, at least.

By the way, I do know one couple, both of them 22, who have a Kindle... Of course, that's just an anecdote and doesn't prove anything.

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