The millennial generation, those born from 1979 to 1989, is reading and buying more books than any other generation.
According to the 2012 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics and Buying Behaviors Annual Review, millennials spent more money on books in 2011 than baby boomers and Generation X.
Last year, millennials spent 24 percent on books and this year they're buying 30 percent of books — numbers still significantly higher than those of older Americans buying books, the survey found.
Melissa Kauth, a senior sociology major, said she spends several hundred dollars on books, ranging from fiction to class textbooks.
“I buy books every few weeks,” Kauth said. “I’ve actually had to limit myself because I am running out of space on my bookshelf.”
Linda Martinez, the floor manager at Best Friends Bookstore in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, said many students buy various textbooks and paperback novels.
Martinez said the popularity of the Harry Potter series in high school might have encouraged students to read more in college.
Over 43 percent of millennials buy books through online vendors, according to the Annual Review.
The data also revealed that the collapse of Borders accelerated the movement of book sales to online retailers.
“I buy most of my books from Amazon,” said Avery Burke, senior philosophy and math major.
There are a lot of deals offered on Amazon that bookstores can’t compete with, said Brett Carlson, who works at an independent bookstore called Hicklebee’s in Willow Glen.
“There is no way we can offer discounts the way they discount things online,” said Carlson.
AbeBooks.com is cheaper than Amazon for any books, Kauth said, but “Amazon is handy for fast shipping and students can get free shipping.”
According to the Annual Review, millennials are also a new generation to adopt digital texts through various e-reader devices.
“Digital text is helpful to have when you need to access material quickly,” Kauth said.
Ashley Ackerman, a junior English major, said she has books on her Kindle but prefers to hold a book in her hands because, on a Kindle, you have to push buttons to flip the page.
Burke has yet to make the transition to digital books because he enjoys writing notes in the margins, he said.
Book publishers are now making the digital switch, Carlson of Hicklebee's said.
“Publishers used to send us advanced physical copies. Now they send us e-editions,” he said, which is greener and more convenient.
The adoption of e-books and other digital texts may be due to the fact that millennials spend more than 53 hours a week using electronic media, according to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2010.
Because millennials spend over seven hours a day online, they are likely to read text on the screen, according to the Kaiser survey.
“Although our generation has complete access to digital media, I think we might get tired of reading online and miss out on the joy of real books,” Kauth said.
The Annual Review stated bookstores will likely close if millennials continue to buy from online bookstores.
Burke said he would prefer to buy from local bookstores because buying online “hurts the bookstore industry a lot.”
Carlson said bookstores and small businesses are suffering from the surge of readers choosing to buy books online.
“Some people are turning to digital books, but books won’t be abandoned completely,” he said.