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The media often characterizes Generation Z as having their smartphones glued to their faces. But, unfortunately, and quite fairly, as one Hofstra study shows, the youngest generation suffers the most from an affliction called iDisorder. The condition stems from overexposure to technology such as smartphones and tablets at a premature age. However, according to Business Insider, Gen Z would rather read a physical book than a digital copy. 

Gen Z prefers a physical book to a digital e-book. 

So, why would zoomers (a nickname for members of gen z) rather curl up with a paperback than an e-reader? The answer varies from person to person, naturally. “There is nothing like opening up a real book on a couch or beach,” Madalyn Boyd (23) told Business Insider. “The smell of real books is so personal.” 

The iconic musty smell of an old book is comforting to many. Old book-scented candles are a staple of chandlers (candle makers) on Etsy. And researchers worldwide have studied what makes used books smell so good. However, for the screen-addicted youth, there are other reasons to prefer a physical novel to a digital copy.

If you’re glued to a cell phone all day, spending hours reading tiny text is tough on your eyes. “I don’t feel as much eye strain reading [physical books],” said Wang Sum Luk (21). “[A]nd I find myself focusing more when reading from a printed book with my computer off.” 

More American adults are reading e-books than ever before. 

According to a 2021 Pew Research Center survey, physical books are still far more popular than e-books. And more respondents ages 18-29 said they read a print book in the last year than any other age range. Additionally, the survey showed that the youngest demographic read more than others in the previous 12 months. However, digital books’ popularity has grown.

30% of respondents said they read an e-book in the last year. In the same survey two years prior, only 25% of participants said they had read a digital book. Though, only 9% of survey takers said they exclusively read e-books.

Gen Z Would Rather Read a Physical Book Than an E-book

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