by Phil Riebel, President, Two Sides North America

Originally published by Two Sides North America:

Two Sides recently released a new survey into the preferences of consumers for printed versus digital communications.  Here are our favorite results:

88% of respondents believe that they understand and can retain or use information better when they read print on paper. Computer screens came next at 64%, and e-readers followed with 48%. Lastly, 41% thought mobiles and smartphones were useful for understanding and retaining information.


80% stated a clear preference for reading print on paper for complicated materials in contrast to only 13% preferring to read complicated materials on a computer screen.  Mobiles and smart phones were preferred by only 3% for reading complicated materials.


There are clear concerns that the drift away from books is affecting education.

  • 68% believe that books are more likely to encourage learning and the development of other skills than using screens.
  • 63% worry that children are not going to learn as much without books.
  • 59% believe that learning from books is the best way to learn.
  • 58% would insist that their children learn from books.
  • 42% believe that learning from screens, PCs, tablets etc. is just as effective as books.


When given a choice, 81% prefer to read print on paper. These percentages drop to 39% for screens, laptops and PCs, 30% for e-readers and 22% for mobiles or smartphones.


A clear preference for print emerges when reading newspapers and magazines and when considering relaxation and receptiveness.  71% indicated they were more relaxed and receptive when reading a newspaper in print compared to 36% who felt more relaxed and receptive when reading from a screen.   75% indicated that they were more relaxed and receptive when reading a printed magazine compared to 26% who felt more relaxed and receptive when reading from a screen.


You can download the full survey results here.