Family bucks digital book trend

Whether she’s in the car, at the dinner table, or in bed, Kate Wilkes almost always has her nose in a book.

The 11 year-old bookworm’s family is one of Marlborough’s most prolific book borrowers.

Over the past six months Kate estimates she has read a whopping 780 books.  Her twin sister Molly has read 120, brother Jack, aged 14, has read 96, and her mother and father Nicola Poswillo and Steve Wilkes have read six each.

Totalling more than 1000 mostly real books in six months, it is safe to say the family of five are bucking a trend towards reading via digital formats.

“I love reading so much, my favourites are anything to do with animals and books starring girls,” Kate says.

“I get lost reading, people will be talking to me, and I won’t even hear them.”

Molly who enjoys “real-life fiction”, non-fiction and recipe books prefers physical books to reading on her iPad.

“A book never goes flat,” she says.

Over the past four years, Marlborough District Libraries manager Glenn Webster has seen a shift away from withdrawals of physical books in favour of the library’s e-resources.

There were 481,912 physical issues In 2014-2015 and 466,037 issues in 2017-2018 showing a decrease of 15,875 issues over four years.

Issues of e-books and audiobooks increased from 7,445 to 18,498, an increase of 11,053, over the same period.

“As our world has become more digitised, we’ve seen a corresponding shift in people moving towards digital reading resources,” Glenn says.

The library’s two apps BorrowBox and Libby have become a popular way for people to browse and borrow e-books and audio books without having to visit the library.

Nicola, an early childhood and primary school teacher, says she started reading to her three children before they were born.

Giving children access to a wide variety of books and and not pushing them to read books they are not interested in is a great way to instill a lifelong love of reading in children, Nicola says.

“As soon as babies learn to crawl, they will pick up a book and leaf through it if they are accessible.

“Discovering the wonder of books and being able to tell a story by looking at the pictures, rather than reading a story is more important than learning to read. They’ll soon pick reading up when they go to school.”


Molly and Kate’s favourite writers:

  • Belinda Murrell (Aus)
  • Anna Branford (Aus)
  • My New Zealand Story series (various authors)
  • Des Hunt (NZ)
  • Jacqueline Wilson (UK)
  • Chrissie Perry (Aus)
  • Michael Morpugo (UK)


Jack’s favourite writers:

  • Chris Bradford (UK)
  • Bear Grylls (UK)
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