Pew Internet Research is looking into the rise of e-books and what motivates people to buy them. The obvious first question is: why do you read books at all?
Their list of responses – which were directly quoted, then reviewed and categorized for the poll results – is interesting. Knowledge-building is the top most common answer, but the second most-common answer was, in one form or another, escapism:
Those who talked about quiet entertainment tended toward phrases like “a stress-free escape,” “a nice way to relax,” “I read because it’s not work,” “diverting, entertaining and educational,” and “It draws me away from reality.” That was echoed by a respondent who said reading “takes you away, like a movie in your head.” One wryly said he liked reading “because it helps me with my temper and relaxes me.”
One respondent noted: “I am an English teacher, so I read to save my sanity from grading essays.”
Interestingly, the full report notes that, regardless of how they consume books, technology owners generally read more. What is not noted – and might have provided some interesting insight – is why people read, as broken down by e-book readers vs. paper lovers. Might the escapism and fantasy of books lure more paper readers than digital? Maybe Pew will ask that question next time…