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Old 09-07-2013, 07:49 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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On vacation: 71 percent prefer paper over e-books, survey claims

As the saying goes, the only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself. That said, according to a survey conducted by Heathrow Airport, seven out of ten people going on vacation would rather schlep paper books than opt for a slim e-reader.

Heathrow Airport Retail Director Muriel Zingraff-Shariff said: "There’s no doubt that the popularity of eBooks has boomed in recent years, but when it comes to relaxing on holiday it seems you just can’t beat a good book. People want a break from technology whilst they’re abroad, so it’s understandable that people would rather swap their Blackberry for Malorie Blackman."

Which makes sense of course since the retail director of an airport would much rather have you buy paper books from the local WHSmith bookstore than buy them online, let's say via Amazon Whispernet.

The survey also found that people worry about e-readers not coping well with sun, sea, and sand, which is true, I suppose, especially if you run out of ziplock bags.

Related: Taking e-books to the beach - share your tips, E-Reader on the beach
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:35 AM   #2
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I'd prefer to take a physical book than a Blackberry too, even though I'd pick an ereader over a book. Was their survey question not specific to ereaders or is that just a daft comment from the airport director?
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:35 AM   #3
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The survey also found that people worry about e-readers not coping well with sun, sea, and sand, which is true, I suppose, especially if you run out of ziplock bags.
That's exactly the reason why I revert to pbooks during my holidays abroad. I'm not taking my beloved reader to the beach, ziploc bags or not. Of course, living in Argentina means that the process of buying the reader I wanted was more complicated and expensive than for those who live elsewhere (I had mine bought in the US by the cousin of a co-worker and mailed to a tax-free zone in my country).

As replacement is not plain sailing and involves bothering other people, I treat my reader with utmost care, which of course rules out taking it to the beach.

Anyway, there are always books you can't buy in e-format (at least in my country) and friends and family sometimes will give books as presents, so I keep that reading material for the holidays.
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:40 AM   #4
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The problem with these surveys trying to prove the superiority of pbooks (aside from bring meaningless) is that all they manage to achieve is to document the steadily growing acceptance and preference for ebooks.
29% is a nice number. Certainly better than last year's 19%.

The traditionalists really need to phrase their surveys better to get the results they want.
Like: "If I point a gun to your head, will you say you prefer print over ebooks?"
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:56 AM   #5
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The first time I saw a Kindle was on an aeroplane some years ago, flying out of Heathrow for, I think, Schiphol.

It was my brother's, a man who travels extensively on business. Which means a lot of air time, which means a lot of books to kill time. Which means a Kindle (or of course any equivalent--it just happened to be the sort he owned). He has a wide assortment of books, including short story collections, constantly changing, on his device, ideal for short or long-haul flight.

As for taking books on holiday--are they kidding me? I don't takes books on holiday; I can sit and read at home. Holidays are where I go do something different, whether it's fell-walking in UK, exploring New York on foot, goggling at puffins in the Hebrides, or sitting at a sidewalk cafe in Italy enjoying good food, good conversation, good wine and good company. I used to pick up a book at the airport bookstore before a flight (it's a long haul from Australia to UK), but strictly for inflight reading.

I can't really grasp the idea that what I should do on a holiday is sit in a chair and read a book.

I'm right there with fjtorres: what the survey says is that 21 percent would prefer to take an e-reader. That's a surprisingly large number. Way up from the first time I saw a Kindle in action some years ago, when my brother's was probably the only one on the 737.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:10 AM   #6
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I'll take a book when I go somewhere then leave it behind so I'm not wasting baggage allowances.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:15 AM   #7
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I'd much rather risk losing/forgetting a pbook on vacation, than risk losing an ereader. I still carry pbooks with me to doctor's appointments, etc. just for that reason.
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Old 09-07-2013, 10:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic View Post
As the saying goes, the only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself. That said, according to a survey conducted by Heathrow Airport, seven out of ten people going on vacation would rather schlep paper books than opt for a slim e-reader.
So? Why do we automatically judge the surveys whose results we don't agree with personally as suspect?

My reading has shifted from mainly pbooks over to mainly ebooks over the last two years, even though I have had e-readers since 2007. And the books I really want, I still buy in paper (I sometimes buy both paper and ebook versions, so I'm looking forward to Amazon's Matchbooks or whatever it's called). I like having books around me (the same way I like having CDs, only more so). A new hardcover by a favourite writer is still a reason to celebrate.

(BTW, since my PRS 505 died, I'm unable to read the LRF books (LRT?) I've bought from Sony in the early days, because the T1 and T2 refuse to open them and I can't convert or re-download them. I'm out of about 200 dollars -- wouldn't have happened with pbooks).

It's fine if most people prefer pbooks over an e-reader (and it's pretty clear that they really do once you leave communities like MR). It doesn't take away your enjoyment, it doesn't make the ebook boom any less impressive, it doesn't change anything. Let people read the way they want to. Too many people don't read at all.

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Old 09-07-2013, 10:51 AM   #9
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I love to travel and ereaders have been a god send. I don't have to worry about finishing the 1000 page hard cover book that I'm 3/4 the Way through. I don't have to plan the 5 or 6 books to take along. I don't need to worry about the luggage space. I read with it on the beach, I read in the pool (with an Aquapac), I take it with me on all the tours for the down times. My experience is that most fellow travels get the benefits and want one. I don't worry about damaging it, life is too short. I haven't damaged one yet and as a percentage of overall travel costs replacement would be peanuts.
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Old 09-07-2013, 10:54 AM   #10
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I see no reason to doubt the results. eBooks are growing but they'll never be the entire market.
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:00 AM   #11
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A preference for paper over ebooks might depend on how many books will be read on vacation. I read 7-10 for a one week trip, which is a pain (literally) to carry, so an eReader is preferred. If someone only needs one or two books, paper is probably preferred.

Last edited by Synamon; 09-07-2013 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:02 AM   #12
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So? Why do we automatically judge the surveys whose results we don't agree with personally as suspect?
All studies are suspect until found to be otherwise. That's how science works.

It's fairly clear to me from the way the results are worded [1] that the people choosing paper were overwhelmingly paper fetishists. Not people who have both an ereader and paper books, and are making a considered choice to eschew their ereader whilst on holiday, for particular reasons related to the compatibility of holidaying and ereading.

I also wonder where and how exactly this survey was conducted - was it from a booth in the WH Smith store they're advertising in this press release? Somewhere else? How was the sample chosen? How many declined participation? Again, basic science.

The results are also presented misleadingly when it comes to recommendations. The writer of the release says:

Quote:
Digital doesn’t fare well when it comes to suggestions of what books to bring either.

Of the 2,000 people surveyed, 67% said they turn to friends and family for their reading recommendations, closely followed by librarians and book-sellers (22%). Auto-generated online suggestions were found to be least helpful – 33% felt that the recommendations were too stereotyped, and 15% argued that they were just plain dull.
What has any of that to do with ebooks vs pbooks? I get the vast majority of my ebook recs from my friends, offline and online. Auto-generated recommendations apply to both ebooks and pbooks, too. The conclusion, fuzzy as it is, doesn't follow from the data.


[1] ("67% said they prefer to stick with print because they enjoy the feel of a real book in their hands.")
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:10 AM   #13
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As for taking books on holiday--are they kidding me? I don't takes books on holiday; I can sit and read at home. .
I differentiate holidays...there is 'travel' (walking, exploring, etc) and there is 'vacation' (toes in the water, ass in the sand...). That being said, on travel I worry about space and weight and on vacation I read one to three novels a day and I'm not sure what my reading mood will be. In both cases, an e-reader is preferred.
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:12 AM   #14
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I think that it would be interesting to see how many of those people who prefer paper own an ebook reader and use it regularly.

There are basically three groups of people who read - those who read for pleasure on a regular basis (.i.e. 1 or more books a week), those who read only for business and those who read mostly magazines or on vacation (i.e. beach books). If the survey was mostly from group 1, then I would find the results surprising. If the survey is mostly from the later two (as I suspect), then I don't find the results surprising at all.
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:18 AM   #15
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Paper is fine if you're the kind of reader who can get a couple of weeks out of a book. When - as I'm guessing most of us on here are - you're a "books per week" reader, paper gets inconvenient. Especially on a longer trip to a non-english speaking country where the local selection is limited.

I used to take half a dozen on holiday with me, now it's just my Kindle.

e-Readers 1, paper 0.
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