Over the years, the rise of digital technology brought about significant transformations in the human way of life. For instance, there is a great shift in the world of literature and how people read. Traditional paper books have been around for centuries. However, the emergence of e-books has presented a new option for readers looking to enjoy a good read.

This shift has led to a rather contested debate over the superiority of one medium over the other. Some argue that paper books are a key part of cultural heritage, while others champion e-books as a more convenient and accessible way to access literature.

Real Research, an online survey app, conducted a survey to understand the reading habits and public preference for reading paper books vs. e-books. It attempted to investigate which medium readers prefer through a battle of paper books vs. e-books. We hope to gain valuable insights into how reading habits have evolved. By analyzing the results, we can also explore the advantages and disadvantages of reading paper books and e-books.

Here are the key findings of the survey report:

  • 42.73% prefer paper books, while  24.79% prefer e-books
  • 18.51% believe that environmental concerns drive the preference for e-books
  • The availability of a wider range of topics (17.99%) is the number one reason people prefer paper books

Factors Affecting Reading Preference

We all know that reading is a great way to escape reality, but how much time are people dedicating to reading books these days? Our survey aimed to find out. We asked respondents how many books they had read in the last year, and the results showed a mixed picture.

It’s encouraging that everyone read at least one book in the past year. The largest group of respondents (40.81%) reported reading only one book. On the other hand, 6.92% reported reading an impressive 11 or more books. Between those two extremes, 27.34% reported reading 2-3 books, 16.74% reported reading 4-5 books, and 8.19% reported reading 6-10 books.

Figure 1: Factors affecting preference for reading paper books vs. e-books

When asked about the main factor influencing their choice of reading paper books vs. e-books, the survey revealed that it is physical comfort for 16.51%. However, 12.32% said it is a matter of personal preference, while 9.46% stated there should be emotional attachment.

Furthermore, our survey asked participants if they had purchased a paper book or an e-book in the last year. 34.35% reported purchasing only paper books, while 19.4% reported purchasing only e-books. However, a substantial number (26.81%) reported purchasing both paper books and e-books. Interestingly, 19.44% reported not having purchased either type of book in the last year.

Battle of Paper Books vs. E-books

As the world of literature becomes increasingly digitized, we wanted to explore whether people still prefer physical books over e-books. Accordingly, the above results on purchasing habits indicate that a significant proportion of the respondents still prefer paper books. Supported by a similar survey, the result reveals that 42.73% prefer paper books. On the other hand, 24.79% prefer e-books, and the rest (32.48%) prefer both.

Figure 2: Respondents’ preference between paper books or e-books

But why do some individuals prefer reading e-books over traditional paper books? The results revealed that 18.51% believe that environmental concerns drive the preference for e-books. Another 13% cited convenience as a factor. Additionally, 12.57% suggested the portability of e-books, as they can store several books on a single device.

As the world of reading continues to evolve, we sought to understand why some readers still prefer traditional paper books over their digital counterparts. Our survey showed that a diverse range of factors influences this preference.

The top reason (17.99%) was the availability of a wider range of topics and genres. The second (11.33%) most common reason was that paper books reduce the risk of eye strain associated with prolonged screen exposure. Finally, 9.92% cited the tactile experience of holding a paper book.

Disadvantages of Reading E-books vs. Printed Books

There’s no denying that the digital age has revolutionized how we consume literature. But our respondents still found some of the disadvantages of reading e-books. 25.44% cited reading e-books may cause eye strains, followed by 16.1% who cited the distraction caused by pop-up notifications on mobile devices. In addition, 12.73% reported incompatibility issues between e-book formats and e-reader software.

Figure 3: Disadvantages of reading e-books

Survey respondents had a few thoughts when asked about the disadvantages of reading paper books. 16.28% mentioned the storage space that physical books can take up, while 14.41% cited the difficulty in reading in poor lighting conditions. 14.09% found physical books to be too heavy to carry around. These insights highlight the practical limitations of paper books vs. e-books.

In the end, 68.49% of respondents believe that e-books will likely become more prevalent in the coming years, with 36.58% indicating that it is highly likely and 31.91% saying it is somewhat likely. However, some remain skeptical, with 15.34% believing it is somewhat unlikely and 7.81% saying it is improbable. It seems like the jury is still out on the future of e-books, but one thing is for sure: we can expect exciting changes in the world of reading in the years to come!


These findings offer insights into the reading attitudes and preferences of the general public. The report suggests that while not everyone may be a dedicated reader, a significant group of individuals still enjoy and prioritize reading. Overall, these findings remind us that the debate between paper books vs. e-books is far from over. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that a range of factors beyond simple convenience or cost can influence readers’ preferences.


Survey TitlePublic Preference on Reading Paper Books vs. E-books
DurationFebruary 07 – February 14, 2023
Number of Participants10,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 21 to 99
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.