The Public Still Likes Books, So You Need to Be Print Friendly

shutterstock_171488276A recent Pew Study  reports that in spite of the increase over the past five years in the number of Americans who read ebooks (28%, up from 17%) and audio books (14% up from 11%), in 2016, a full 65 percent continue to read print books – 38% exclusively, with an additional 28 percent reading both print and e-books. Only 6 percent of consumers said they read digital books only.  And what’s also interesting is that e-book readership isn’t rapidly growing in popularity as one might expect given the pervasiveness of smartphones and tablets, but instead has remained at 28% since 2014.

The demographics of print versus ebook readership aren’t predictable either. Not surprisingly, 39% of young adults (18-29) read an ebook this year compared to 19% of those over 65. But young adults are also more likely to read print books than seniors – 72% of young adults read a print book last year compared with 61% seniors.  Similarly, those with more education or higher incomes were more likely to read both ebooks and print books than their younger or lower income counterparts.

While we lawyers may prefer everything in an electronic format, the Pew study suggests that the same may not be true for our clients.  Many of them may still prefer to read a print version of pleadings or website content. This doesn’t mean that we should turn back the clock and return to the day when lawyers sent clients home with thick binders of materials. But at a minimum, we should give clients the option of print copies. In addition, you can also make your website printer friendly by installing a Print Friendly button on your site.

Because many people continue to prefer print, many marketers recommend high quality print newsletters.  Based on my own experience, it’s hard to imagine anyone actually wanting to receive another piece of paper junk in the mail, but again, it depends on your demographic.

What’s your preference – print or digital? And if you’ve sent a print newsletter, has it helped attract and retain clients? Please share your experience in the comment section below.


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