The state of e-books and e-readers in the U.S.A.

“One-fifth of American adults (21%) report that they have read an e-book in the past year, and this number increased following a gift-giving season that saw a spike in the ownership of both tablet computers and e-book reading devices such as the original Kindles and Nooks.1 In mid-December 2011, 17% of American adults had reported they read an e-book in the previous year; by February, 2012, the share increased to 21%,” Lee Rainie, Kathryn Zickuhr, Kristen Purcell, Mary Madden and Joanna Brenner report for Pew Research.

“The rise of e-books in American culture is part of a larger story about a shift from printed to digital material. Using a broader definition of e-content in a survey ending in December 2011, some 43% of Americans age 16 and older say they have either read an e-book in the past year or have read other long-form content such as magazines, journals, and news articles in digital format on an e-book reader, tablet computer, regular computer, or cell phone,” the researchers report.

Pew Research: U.S. tablet ownership survey, Jan-Feb 2012

Pew Research: U.S. tablet demographics survey, Dec 2011-Jan 2012

Online Universities has created an info graphic based on the Pew Research findings:

E-book Nation

Most of the findings in the Pew report and ancillary infographic come from a survey of 2,986 Americans ages 16 and older, conducted on November 16-December 21, 2011, that extensively focused on the new terrain of e-reading and people’s habits and preferences. Other surveys were conducted between January 5-8 and January 12-15, 2012 to see the extent to which adoption of e-book reading devices (both tablets and e-readers) might have grown during the holiday gift-giving season and those growth figures are reported here. Finally, between January 20-Febuary 19, 2012, Pew re-asked the questions about the incidence of book reading in the previous 12 months in order to see if there had been changes because the number of device owners had risen so sharply. All data cited in this report are from the November/December survey unless Pew specifically cite the subsequent surveys. This work was underwritten by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Related articles:
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Target to stop selling Amazon’s Kindle, outfit stores with special Apple iPad displays – May 2, 2012
91% of moms want Apple iPads over flowers for Mother’s Day – May 1, 2012
Amazon Kindles ‘go unused’ after Christmas – January 21, 2012
Amazon cuts tiny screen Kindle Fire orders in half, sources say – January 20, 2012
Tablet display shootout: Apple iPad ‘excellent,’ Amazon Kindle Fire ‘major flaws’ – December 20, 2011
If Amazon’s Kindle Fire is so hot, why is it still in stock? – December 19, 2011
‘Kindle Fire: The Missing Manual’ author to return Kindle Fire, keep his ‘years ahead’ Apple iPad 2 – December 15, 2011
Amazon touts Kindle e-reader sales with few details – December 15, 2011
Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire’s big security problem – December 14, 2011
Lack of parental controls on Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire lets kids charge up a storm – December 12, 2011
Disgruntled early adopters of Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire have slew of complaints – December 12, 2011
Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire estimated to play distant second fiddle to Apple’s market-dominating iPad – December 6, 2011
Usability expert Jakob Nielsen tests Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire: ‘A disappointingly poor user experience’ – December 5, 2011
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Apple iPad 2 vs. Amazon Kindle Fire: Bootup, browsing, and Netflix streaming (with video) – November 16, 2011
Wired reviews Amazon’s tiny-screen Kindle Fire: Web browsing sucks, emotionally draining, makes reading a chore – November 14, 2011
NY Times’ Pogue reviews Amazon’s tiny-screen Kindle Fire: Sluggish, ornery, unpolished – November 14, 2011
The Verge reviews Amazon’s tiny-screen Kindle Fire: Uninspired, confusing, incredibly unoriginal – November 14, 2011
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  1. I bet a lot of people were confused by conflating eReading with tablet computers, as presumably most of the devices used to eRead are not tablet computers, but eReaders.

  2. 6% of tablet owners don’t know what type of tablet they own??? That’s just bizarre. And other = 11%. What could “other” possibly be? Old kindles?

      1. They actually have Samsung Galaxy Tablets, but think they have iPads due to the look and the salesman’s promise “It’s just like an iPad!”, and were confused when informed that they actually didn’t have an iPad.

    1. Hell, I’ve known people who didn’t know what model of car they own or if they have a 4, 6 or 8 cylinder engine. And they weren’t all women either.

      1. I meet women all the time who don’t know how many horsepower their motorcycle makes at the countershaft OR the rear wheel. I mean you’d think they’ve never dyno’d their bikes. How the heck do they get through a day?

    2. ” And other = 11%. What could “other” possibly be?…”

      I’m gonna’ guess that a lot of “others”, are iPhones & iPods. That’s what I use for an e-book reader, when I’m not using my iPad.

  3. you have failed to include all those wonderful people who don’t own a tablet, but like me use and iPod touch or an iPhone with ibooks to read ebooks

    1. That’s because you don’t have an e-reader, you have a phone or a music device. You shouldn’t be e-reading on them or the Categorization Police will hunt you down. We just can’t have these cross-category things happening, you know. Throws all the statistics out of whack.

      1. by the way i do have an iPad, its just more convenient to use my iPod. as for statistics. they shouldn’t count iPad/ipod/iphone separate, but as one category…iOS… the only reason they don’t is probably because the stat would be so large that no one else would matter

        1. “by the way i do have an iPad, its just more convenient to use my iPod…”

          I do the same thing. A lot of times it’s just easier to use my iPod over the iPad – especially on public trans.

          Personally, I think that, that accounts for a lot of the “others”.

  4. Apple, it’s time for iBooks on Max OS X.

    My wife and kids have iPads.

    I have a MacBook Pro, and don’t have an immediate need for an iPad, but it would be nice to be able to buy and read books from the iBooks store and magazines from Newstand.

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