BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Nearly 70 percent of consumers say it is unlikely that they will give up on printed books by 2016, citing an emotional and visceral attachment to tangible texts.

The Ricoh Americas Corporation (Ricoh) study, in partnership with the University of Colorado, finds that printed books may still have the hearts of readers, despite the perceived popularity of eBooks being downloaded to tablets and other devices.

The growth of eBooks has slowed since 2012 sales, and the study also notes that 60 percent of downloaded eBooks are never even read.

In addition to consumers’ sensory attachment to print, college students reported a preference for print textbooks as opposed to electronic options due to the prevalence of distraction on computers, laptops and other devices. And a current trend revealed in the study shows that while fewer copies of books are being sold, an increasing variety of different titles are being published.

“Despite the perceived growth of eBooks, our research shows that there is a silver lining for the printed books and the digital production print industries,” said Marco Boer, Consulting Partner, IT Strategies.

“As book orders become smaller in quantity and more frequent, and as an unprecedented number of titles are introduced each year, digital print is helping book manufacturers tackle potential challenges head on through automation and more intelligent printing.”

The study mentions that much of the discussion about eBooks’ popularity is reinforced by “popular press headlines rather than factual data,” when in reality a majority of Americans can’t see themselves giving up printed books anytime soon.

On the business side, the researchers point out that offering titles digitally does not correspond to a company’s cost savings or revenue generation – the largest publishers draw revenue of no more than 20-30 percent from eBook sales.

Lack of eye strain, the look and feel of paper and the ability to add a book to a library or shelf were the top three reasons cited by consumers who prefer print.

The study analyzed responses from more than 800 people: Just shy of 50 percent had an undergraduate degree, 55 percent were female and the average age of those surveyed was 39 years old.

According to their website, Ricoh is a global technology company specializing in office imaging equipment, production print solutions, document management systems and IT services.


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