Before you buy them an e-reader for Christmas…

Analogue entertainment … a teenage reader. Photograph: RelaXimages/Corbis

Analogue entertainment … a teenage reader. Photograph: RelaXimages/Corbis

Consider, for a moment, the mind-blowing fact that perhaps that special someone would prefer a physical book for Christmas.

No, seriously. I was surprised as well.

According to this article, 62% of 16-to-24 year-olds prefer physical books to e-readers. The reasoning?

The top-rated reasons for preferring physical to digital products were: “I like to hold the product” (51%), “I am not restricted to a particular device” (20%), “I can easily share it” (10%), “I like the packaging” (9%), and “I can sell it when used” (6%).

I’ve always been a fan of physical books, and not just because I work at a bookstore and my livelihood depends on it. There really is some tactile magic that makes holding a book feels warmer and nicer than holding a piece of electronic wizardry. I’m not surprised to see that it is the top reason why people prefer them to e-readers.

What does surprise me is the fact that battery life wasn’t even mentioned in percentages. In all my years of reading, I’ve never had the battery die on a physical book while I’m in the middle of a good scene.

But probably the biggest surprise was that the audience for this questionnaire is made up of people you would assume to be target market for electronic gadgets. And yet, physical books won the competition. Maybe that means that I’ll keep my job at the bookstore for a while longer.

How about you? Do you prefer physical or e-books?