They may be developing their own shades of grey. But Britain’s older generations are far from technophobic when it comes to reading.
Nearly one in three over-55s now owns an e-reader, research reveals.
Mums, dads, grannies and grandads are increasingly demonstrating that while technology is widely regarded as the domain of the young, in fact digital books are replacing or supplementing traditional ones in the homes of savvy seniors.
Many are discovering there’s nothing quite like settling down in front of a nice warm Kindle Fire, or putting their feet up with an iPad.
According to research by Mintel consumer analysts, 29 per cent of those aged 55 and above now own a digital book reader, compared with just 22 per cent of the younger generation.
Older women embracing the digital age are particularly fond of the devices, with 31 per cent owning one.
That may also have something to do with 50 Shades Of Grey, the publishing phenomenon which began life as an e-book.
The findings fly in the face of assumptions that only youngsters can conquer the complexities of technological wizardry, or that oldies would never abandon proper books.
Paul Davies, of Mintel, said: ‘Over-55s are the keenest readers across all formats of books (paperback, hardback and digital) – bar audiobooks.
‘The popularity of e-readers in this age group is related to the fact that the digital book is designed specifically to cater for an activity in which they are the keenest participants.’ Or, to put it another way, e-readers probably appeal to granny because she can enlarge the text, and will never lose her place in a book again.
But don’t get the idea that the older generation is fearlessly spearheading a silver surfer rev
And owning a smartphone? That, apparently, is a whole new chapter. ‘The majority continue to have no immediate need for one,’ Mr Davies said.
Amazon launched the first successful e-reader, the Kindle, in November 2007. It used a low power ‘e-ink’ display that had no visibility problems in sunlight.
The technology has since evolved and many tablets, such as the Kindle Fire, combine an e-reader with the ability to play music and films and browse the internet.
by Paul Harris
18 January 2013
One in four admits to needing a youngster to teach them how to use new technology.