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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay from IELTS Cambridge 15 on the topic of printed newspapers/books and reading online.

It’s an interesting question and was a lot of fun to write about!

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Dave

Before reading, listen to the audio and take notes:

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer Essay IELTS Cambridge 15: Printed Newspapers and Reading Online

In the future, nobody will buy printed newspapers or books because they will be able to read everything they want online without paying.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Cambridge IELTS 15

The popularity of physical newspapers and books is in steep decline, nearing irrelevance. In my opinion, although select segments of the population still value books, the move towards free online media is inevitable.

The argument against this is that certain individuals continue to pay for print versions. These tend to be older people and only applies to the most well-known books and newspapers. For example, The New York Times still generates sizeable revenue from subscriptions and is one of the only magazines in the United States currently publishing a daily, physical edition. Moreover, hard copies of books are still popular. The vast majority of middle-aged and older people relish the texture and character of actual books and lack the technological know-how to download E-Books. Even many younger people prefer reading paperbacks and hardcovers to reduce eye strain.

Nonetheless, someday nearly everyone will read solely online. The clearest evidence for this can be seen in the number of publishers resigned to discontinue printing such as The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, and The Independent. Those still in print have seen circulation drop precipitously as individuals access the same news for free, more conveniently on their mobile devices. This same trend is occurring slowly with E-Books due to the rise of Amazon’s online platforms. Companies charging for online subscriptions have found their readership is trending towards obsolescence as competitors are willing to post free content and earn profits through targeted advertising. These are entrenched habits for young people and it is only a matter of time until print media disappears entirely.

In conclusion, a rapid decline in publishing cannot be halted as reading habits have changed irrevocably. This means websites will have to become as reliable and responsible as newspapers.

Analysis

1. The popularity of physical newspapers and books is in steep decline, nearing irrelevance. 2. In my opinion, although select segments of the population still value books, the move towards free online media is inevitable.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. State a clear opinion and try to include at least one of your main ideas.

1. The argument against this is that certain individuals continue to pay for print versions. 2. These tend to be older people and only applies to the most well-known books and newspapers. 3. For example, The New York Times still generates sizeable revenue from subscriptions and is one of the only magazines in the United States currently publishing a daily, physical edition. 4. Moreover, hard copies of books are still popular. 5. The vast majority of middle-aged and older people relish the texture and character of actual books and lack the technological know-how to download E-Books. 6. Even many younger people prefer reading paperbacks and hardcovers to reduce eye strain.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Give an example.
  4. Switch over to write about books too.
  5. Develop that idea specifically.
  6. Finish developing your main idea.

1. Nonetheless, someday nearly everyone will read solely online. 2. The clearest evidence for this can be seen in the number of publishers resigned to discontinue printing such as The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, and The Independent. 3. Those still in print have seen circulation drop precipitously as individuals access the same news for free, more conveniently on their mobile devices. 4. This same trend is occurring slowly with E-Books due to the rise of Amazon’s online platforms. 5. Companies charging for online subscriptions have found their readership is trending towards obsolescence as competitors are willing to post free content and earn profits through targeted advertising. 6. These are entrenched habits for young people and it is only a matter of time until print media disappears entirely.

  1. Write another topic sentence with another clear main idea at the end.
  2. Start your example right away if possible.
  3. Develop your example by stating the results.
  4. Be sure to discuss books as well.
  5. Continue developing your ideas.
  6. Conclude the paragraph with a strong statement and relate it to the overall essay topic.

1. In conclusion, a rapid decline in publishing cannot be halted as reading habits have changed irrevocably. 2. This means websites will have to become as reliable and responsible as newspapers.

  1. Summarise and repeat your opinion.
  2. Finish summarising and include a final thought.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

The popularity of physical newspapers and books is in steep decline, nearing irrelevance. In my opinion, although select segments of the population still value books, the move towards free online media is inevitable.

The argument against this is that certain individuals continue to pay for print versions. These tend to be older people and only applies to the most well-known books and newspapers. For example, The New York Times still generates sizeable revenue from subscriptions and is one of the only magazines in the United States currently publishing a daily, physical edition. Moreover, hard copies of books are still popular. The vast majority of middle-aged and older people relish the texture and character of actual books and lack the technological know-how to download E-Books. Even many younger people prefer reading paperbacks and hardcovers to reduce eye strain.

Nonetheless, someday nearly everyone will read solely online. The clearest evidence for this can be seen in the number of publishers resigned to discontinue printing such as The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, and The Independent. Those still in print have seen circulation drop precipitously as individuals access the same news for free, more conveniently on their mobile devices. This same trend is occurring slowly with E-Books due to the rise of Amazon’s online platforms. Companies charging for online subscriptions have found their readership is trending towards obsolescence as competitors are willing to post free content and earn profits through targeted advertising. These are entrenched habits for young people and it is only a matter of time until print media disappears entirely.

In conclusion, a rapid decline in publishing cannot be halted as reading habits have changed irrevocably. This means websites will have to become as reliable and responsible as newspapers.

Answers

physical newspapers actually printed papers

steep decline decreasing quickly

irrelevance not important anymore

select segments certain parts of

value importance

move movement/development

free online media websites, blogs

inevitable can’t be stopped

certain individuals some people

tend to be are usually

only applies just relates to

most well-known famous

generates sizeable revenue makes a lot of money

subscriptions signing up to receive regularly

currently publishing now releasing

edition copy of a book/magazine

hard copies physical book

vast majority most of

middle-aged 40s or 50s

relish really enjoy

texture how it feels

actual books real, physical books

lack not having

technological know-how ability to use tech

download E-Books purchase and keep online books

paperbacks soft cover, physical books

hardcovers hard, large cover books

reduce eye strain not hurt your eyes so much

read solely online only read online

clearest evidence best instance

resigned accepted

discontinue printing stop publishing

still in print continuing to publish

circulation drop precipitously sales falling a lot

mobile devices smartphones, tablets

trend pattern

occurring happening

rise increase

Amazon’s online platforms Kindle, Audible, etc.

charging paying for

readership people who read

trending towards obsolescence starting to disappear

competitors other publishers

post free content put up articles for no charge

earn profits make money

targeted advertising ads at specific people/groups

entrenched habits can’t change habits

only a matter of time until will eventually happen

entirely completely

rapid decline quickly decrease

halted stopped

reading habits how people read

irrevocably can’t be reversed

reliable can be trusted

Pronunciation

Listen and repeat:

ˈfɪzɪkəl ˈnjuːzˌpeɪpəz 
stiːp dɪˈklaɪn
ɪˈrɛlɪvəns
sɪˈlɛkt ˈsɛgmənts
ˈvæljuː 
muːv 
friː ˈɒnˌlaɪn ˈmiːdiə 
ɪnˈɛvɪtəbl
ˈsɜːtn ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəlz 
tɛnd tuː biː 
ˈəʊnli əˈplaɪz tuː 
məʊst wɛl-nəʊn 
ˈʤɛnəreɪts ˈsaɪzəbl ˈrɛvɪnjuː 
səbˈskrɪpʃənz 
ˈkʌrəntli ˈpʌblɪʃɪŋ 
ɪˈdɪʃən
hɑːd ˈkɒpiz 
vɑːst məˈʤɒrɪti 
ˈmɪdlˈeɪʤd 
ˈrɛlɪʃ 
ˈtɛksʧə 
ˈækʧʊəl bʊks 
læk 
ˌtɛknəˈlɒʤɪk(ə)l ˈnəʊhaʊ 
ˌdaʊnˈləʊd ˈiːbʊks
ˈpeɪpəbæks 
ˈhɑːdˌkʌvəz 
rɪˈdjuːs aɪ streɪn
riːd ˈsəʊlli ˈɒnˌlaɪn
ˈklɪərɪst ˈɛvɪdəns 
rɪˈzaɪnd 
ˌdɪskənˈtɪnju(ː) ˈprɪntɪŋ 
stɪl ɪn prɪnt 
ˌsɜːkjʊˈleɪʃən drɒp prɪˈsɪpɪtəsli 
ˈməʊbaɪl dɪˈvaɪsɪz
trɛnd 
əˈkɜːrɪŋ 
raɪz 
ˈæməzənz ˈɒnˌlaɪn ˈplætfɔːmz.
ˈʧɑːʤɪŋ 
ˈriːdəʃɪp 
ˈtrɛndɪŋ təˈwɔːdz ˌɒbsəˈlɛs(ə)ns 
kəmˈpɛtɪtəz 
pəʊst friː ˈkɒntɛnt 
ɜːn ˈprɒfɪts 
ˈtɑːgɪtɪd ˈædvətaɪzɪŋ
ɪnˈtrɛnʧt ˈhæbɪts 
ˈəʊnli ə ˈmætər ɒv taɪm ənˈtɪl 
ɪnˈtaɪəli.
ˈræpɪd dɪˈklaɪn
ˈhɔːltɪd 
ˈriːdɪŋ ˈhæbɪts 
ɪˈrɛvəkəbli.
rɪˈlaɪəbl 

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

The popularity of p__________________________s and books is in s__________________e, nearing i_________________e. In my opinion, although s_______________________s of the population still v__________e books, the m________e towards f________________________a is i________________e.

The argument against this is that c________________________s continue to pay for print versions. These t_______________e older people and o_______________s to the m_______________________n books and newspapers. For example, The New York Times still g__________________________e from s____________________s and is one of the only magazines in the United States c____________________________g a daily, physical e____________n. Moreover, h________________s of books are still popular. The v________________y of m_______________d and older people r___________h the t__________e and character of a_______________s and l_______k the t_________________________w to d________________________s. Even many younger people prefer reading p_______________________s and h_______________s to r____________________n.

Nonetheless, someday nearly everyone will r___________________e. The c________________________e for this can be seen in the number of publishers r_______________d to d___________________g such as The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, and The Independent. Those s_________________t have seen c_________________________________y as individuals access the same news for free, more conveniently on their m___________________s. This same t_________d is o_______________g slowly with E-Books due to the r______e of A__________________________s. Companies c______________g for online subscriptions have found their r________________p is t______________________________e as c__________________s are willing to p___________________________t and e___________________s through t_________________________g. These are e______________________s for young people and it is o____________________________l print media disappears e________________y.

In conclusion, a r_______________e in publishing cannot be h___________d as r____________________s have changed i___________________y. This means websites will have to become as r_______________e and responsible as newspapers.

Listen and check:

Listening Practice

Listen about the future of print publishing below:

Reading Practice

You can see all the data about the decline in newspapers here:

Speaking Practice

Answer the following questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Books

Do you like reading books?

What kind of books do you like most?

What sort of books did you read as a child?

Is it important to read?

Real Past IELTS Exam

Writing Practice

Write about the following related topic and then check with my sample answer:

Some people think that newspapers are the best way to learn news. However, others believe that they can learn news better through other media.

Discuss both views and give your opinion

Real Past IELTS Exam

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