Despite the perception that electronic readers have become more popular than hard-copy books, it's been determined that just isn't true. Surveyed university students were found to prefer physical copies of books over their electronic counterparts, as it's easier to concentrate and overall more enjoyable to read these traditional texts.
Additionally, the Boston Globe reported that customers prefer paper bills over electronic ones. When given the option, the U.S. Postal Service found that 91 percent of customers still chose to receive paper statements.
Ways the public prefers print
Businesses and consumers have become more enveloped in making communication cheaper, faster and more convenient. This means that electronic statements and e-readers are evolving with that pressure. The print industry has been reported to be at risk, but despite the belief, the public still seems to prefer print.
University students, who need to decide between purchasing e-books or physical copies of textbooks and literature for classes, were discovered to typically choose and prefer the latter.
"When I asked what they don't like about reading on a screen – they like to know how far they've gone in the book," Naomi Baron, a professor of linguistics at American University and author of "Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World," told New Republic. "You can read at the bottom of the screen what percent you've finished, but it's a totally different feel to know you've read an inch worth and you have another inch and a half to go. Or students will tell you about their visual memory of where something was on the page; that makes no sense on a screen."
Why the physical copy is still popular
The reasons customers chose to receive paper billing as opposed to electronic varied. However, according to the report by the U.S. Postal Service, 41 percent of them said it was for archiving the bill in files. While businesses typically don't have to worry about filing away papers if they have an electronic documentation system in place, consumers are more likely to have a physical archival system.
Another reason that 26 percent of customers cited was the fact that they had missed a payment when using the electronic billing program. Notifications are more difficult to notice when they're buried in an email inbox, but when the physical copy of the bill comes in through the mail, there's almost no way to forget it.
News Republic reported that many assumed the younger age group would prefer e-books and screens to physical copies since they grew up with computers and technology. However, Baron said that it's often physical ailments that deter them, such as eye strain, headaches and discomfort.
"My major concern, as a person in higher education, is that we're not listening," Baron added. "We're assuming we're being helpful by lowering price, by making it more convenient, by helping the environment, but we don't bother asking our students what they think."
Despite the preference, many businesses and universities try to push for e-readers and screens. Customer preference and comfort should come before lowered cost, and that is what organizations should keep in mind before anything else.