Every couple of years, Scholastic, the biggest player in the kids book arena, releases a study on how kids read called The Kids and Family Reading Report. Jim Milliot sums up this year’s findings, which largely centered on kids and ebooks:

Although e-books have been slower to catch on among children than adults, e-books are definitely becoming a larger part of children’s media world, with the survey finding that 46% of kids 6-17 have read an e-book, up from 25% in 2010. The number of boys who read e-books rose at a slightly faster rate than for girls, but more girls (47%) read an e-book than boys (44%) last fall. There was not too much variation in e-book reading among age groups, with children age 12-14 the most likely to have read an e-book (48%), and those 15-17 the least likely (43%). Reading on an iPad or other tablet increased the most between 2010 and 2012, jumping from 3% to 21%, putting tablets second behind laptops and netbooks (which had a 22% response rate) as the most popular device for digital reading; dedicated digital readers also had big gains in the two years, rising from 7% to 19% and use of hand-held devices to read doubled to 16%; reading on desktops inched up to 19% from 17%.

That all sounds good but there’s also this:

The percentage of 9-17 year olds who said they will continue to read print books fell to 58% from 66% in 2010.

8% ain’t great, but at least they are reading.

You can read the entire report here, as well as previous ones. Comics reading trends were specifically mentioned except in the following two questions:

What kinds of books do you read for fun?
Base: Age 9–17 793
Action & Adventure 56%
Teen Fiction 46%
Mystery & Suspense 45%
Humor 43%
Sci-Fi & Fantasy 36%
Comic Books & Graphic Novels 28%
Horror & Supernatural 27%
Science & Nature 21%
Sports & hobbies 20%
Classics 19%
Biography & history 17%
Other 8%

Which kind of book is your favorite kind when reading for fun?
Base: Age 9–17 793
Teen Fiction 20%
Action & Adventure 14%
Humor 13%
Mystery & Suspense 12%
Sci-Fi & Fantasy 11%
Sports & hobbies 7%
Comic Books & Graphic Novels 7%
Horror & Supernatural 6%
Science & Nature 4%
Classics 2%
Biography & history 2%
Other 4%

Comics are middle of the pack, but you could also say that 1 in 4 kids reads comics, so that’s not bad. Could be better though.


  1. This was a great report, really insightful. Kids will always gravitate more to print books than adults do, but once schools adopt tablets and e-books more fully we’ll start to see a rise in the e-portion of sales. Cheaper devices will help, too.

    Re: the comics portion of those “favorites” lists, one of the issues in these kinds of surveys is that kids aren’t operating with the same sophisticated grasp of terms and jargon that we do. I’ve found that when I ask a kid what their favorite comic book is they’ll say, “Calvin and Hobbes” or “Gumball.” They think of their favorites more in terms of characters and not necessarily the format/medium through which they’re experienced, even if they have a general sense of “comics = something with word balloons.” If the questions above were what they were offered, they might have answered according to what they like to get out of reading (“I like to laugh”) rather than, “I prefer this format or subject when I read.”

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