Japanese Students Prefer Reading Novels on Physical Books; E-books Better for Reading Manga

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Elementary, junior high and high school students who have used e-books tend to find novels, illustrated guides and dictionaries easier to read on physical books, according to a recent survey conducted by the School Library Association.

A total of 10,812 students enrolled at 128 schools nationwide, ranging from fourth graders in elementary school to third-year high school students, responded to the survey conducted in June.

The survey asked, “Is it easier to read using physical books or e-books?” to about 4,900 students that responded that they had used an e-book.

The number of elementary school students who responded that reading novels was easier on physical books was 39.5%, with junior high school students at 38.5% and high school students at 42.8%. In each group, the number of students who preferred reading physical books was much greater than those who preferred to read e-books and those who responded that they had no preference.

The students also found that illustrated books, dictionaries and encyclopedias were easier to read on physical books, but a higher percentage found manga easier to read on e-books.

“Students are likely to feel the advantage of a physical medium for illustrated books and dictionaries, where they want to understand the content properly, and for novels, where they read with their imagination as they flip back and forth through the pages,” said Gunma University Prof. Hirohito Shibata.