Digital reading and the internet

The internet has shown itself to be a place to read short, service-related texts, whereas the number of those who read fiction on it is quite negligible. There has been a considerable increase in the number of browsers, i.e. those for whom the internet provides an opportunity for free surfing.

Other notable data: between 2010 and 2013 there was a surprising increase in the number of those who do not agree that only e-books should exist in the future. In 2010, 66% of the population did not agree and three years later 77%. Around one in six did not have an opinion on this issue or had not considered it.

The devices on which we read books, magazines and newspapers are (in order): 1. PC/notebook, smartphone, tablet and reader, with only 1% of the population regularly reading these texts on a reader.

There was no substantial change in socio-demographic features between 2010 and 2013. The most significant shift involves a balancing out of the differences between men and women. Otherwise it is the case that internet news and newspaper publications are least followed by the youngest and people with the lowest education; internet forums and discussions attract the youngest most of all, while comments sections and blogs are most followed by those with the lowest education. The higher the education, the lower the number of those with no preference. This description (“do not prefer any of the above”) is most represented by the elderly population.

As for the frequency with which the Czech population uses the internet, between 2010 and 2013 the number of non-users dropped from one third to one fifth, while the number of those who use the internet every day rose from 43% to 55%. The most important socio-demographic information is that the gender gap has closed significantly (men do not predominate so much). Age remains the key variable: the younger people are, the more likely they are to use the internet. Another important variable is education (in favour of the most educated). On the other hand a very small role is played by the size of the conurbation here in the Czech Republic.

Quite expectedly, the internet has proved to be an environment where we primarily read short, service-related texts. It also shows that digital reading is not to the detriment of traditional reading. The fact that PCs/notebooks predominated over other devices is not surprising, but what might appear rather surprising is that the smartphone came in second. Only one percent of the population reads regularly on a reader, while almost one in five read on a PC/notebook. Even here the more we read, the more we use individual devices. Unexpectedly, there was an increase in the number of those who do not agree with the idea that in future only e-texts will be read. It seems we are not entirely willing to accede to the idea expressed in the title of the book by Jeff Gomez – “print is dead. The prestigious inconvenience of the printed book is not making way for “e-book convenience; at least not in our thoughts and minds. By all indications we are not about to see the same kind of thing as the bulb replacing the candle or the car taking the place of the horse and carriage, i.e. the lower and less perfect is replaced by the higher and more perfect.