Monday, January 20, 2014


Print reading remains most popular but e-reading is on the rise

Pew Research is an impressive organization which seems to be concerned with a quite mind-boggling variety of aspects of the American Way of Life. If Pew was a person, he or she could well be described as a polymath.

Actually, under U.S. law, Pew Research almost certainly is categorized as a person (something that needs to be changed when the Constitution is next re-written).

New Year Resolution: Find out more about this outfit.

Here is what Pew Research has to say about U.S. book reading.

The percentage of adults who read an e-book in the past year has risen to 28%, up from 23% at the end of 2012. At the same time, about seven in ten Americans reported reading a book in print, up four percentage points after a slight dip in 2012, and 14% of adults listened to an audiobook.

Though e-books are rising in popularity, print remains the foundation of Americans’ reading habits. Most people who read e-books also read print books, and just 4% of readers are “e-book only.” Audiobook listeners have the most diverse reading habits overall, while fewer print readers consume books in other formats.

Overall, 76% of adults read a book in some format over the previous 12 months. The typical American adult read or listened to 5 books in the past year, and the average for all adults was 12 books.1 Neither the mean nor median number of books read has changed significantly over the past few years.

More also own dedicated e-reading devices

The January 2014 survey, conducted just after the 2013 holiday gift-giving season, produced evidence that e-book reading devices are spreading through the population. Some 42% of adults now own tablet computers, up from 34% in September. And the number of adults who own an e-book reading device like a Kindle or Nook reader jumped from 24% in September to 32% after the holidays.

Overall, 50% of Americans now have a dedicated handheld device–either a tablet computer like an iPad, or an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook–for reading e-content. That figure has grown from 43% of adults who had either of those devices in September.

Half of Americans own a tablet or e-reader

As tablet ownership grows, more use them for e-books


1 In other words, the mean (average) number of books read or listened to in the past year was 12 and the median (midpoint) number was 5 (meaning that half of adults read more than 5 books and half read fewer.) This mean can be skewed by a relatively small number of very avid readers, which is why the median is a better measure of what the “typical” American’s reading habits look like.

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