While electronic books offer a range of benefits and may be supposed to be more appealing to young people than paper books, this assumption is often treated as fact by educational researchers. Understanding adolescents’ true current preferences is essential, as incorrect assumptions can lead to decisions which restrict adolescent access to their preferred book mode. The belief that adolescents prefer electronic books to paper books has already led to some school libraries being expunged of paper books. As adolescents show a higher level of aliteracy than younger children, and regular reading offers a broad range of benefits for young people, it is imperative that school’s decisions around providing access to books are responsive to adolescent students’ genuine preferences. This paper analyses the current and relevant academic research around adolescent preferences for book modes, finding that, at present, the contention that adolescents prefer electronic books is not supported by the available research. In addition, there are a number of issues identified that make analyzing the findings in this area problematic. Future studies in this area are needed before an adolescent preference for electronic books can be unequivocally substantiated.
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