they smell. He loves scribbling in the margins, underlining interesting
sentences, folding a page corner to mark his place.
is not a retiree who sips tea at Politics and Prose or some other
bookstore. He is 20, a junior at American University, and paging through
a thick history of Israel between classes, he is evidence of a peculiar
irony of the Internet age: Digital natives prefer reading in print.
“I like the feeling of it,” Schembari said, reading under natural light in
a campus atrium, his smartphone next to him. “I like holding it. It’s
not going off. It’s not making sounds.”
bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still
strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises
reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other
content digitally. A University of Washington pilot study of digital
textbooks found that a quarter of students still bought print versions
of e-textbooks that they were given for free.