Reading fiction with an e-book or in print
Purposes, pragmatics and practices. A focus group study
Lukas Kosch, Günther Stocker, Annika Schwabe, Hajo Boomgaarden | University of Vienna
Empirical research on the differences between digital and print reading has recently increased, mainly concentrating on informational texts while disregarding literary texts. Concerning narrative fiction, the existing quantitative studies have found no or very few differences between reading printed books and e-books. In our focus group study, we amplify the perspective on digital and print book reading through a largely explorative approach. The results gained by interviewing 34 habitual readers of e-books in six groups show that e-books complement rather than replace printed books. Crucial differences can be found in the dimensions of the reading situation, genre selection, purpose of reading, as well as literary quality and status of the text. Furthermore, our results shed new light on the importance of the printed book as an individual material object, with its own specific iconicity and with notable consequences for intellectual possession, memory, and remembrance of read books and lived reading experiences.