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eBooks vs Print ~ Where do you stand?


Letís do some statistics on eBooks and eBook Readers. I am hearing that fewer people are reading either type of book today, but those who are reading are reading more and in many different formats.

Bill & Melinda Gates funded the Pew Research Centerís Internet & American Life Project. This project was a series of telephone surveys and the results were published at the end of February 2012. The results show some interesting trends.

As of February 2012,
∙ 21% of Americans had read an e-book
∙ Owners of eBook Readers read an average of eight books over the past year
∙ The average American read 17 books a year. This stat is based on 2,986 respondents.
∙ 19% of respondents aged sixteen and older said they had not read any book over the 2011 year.
∙ 19% of females aged 30-49 years were the most represented group and the Amazon Kindle was the most popular format used.
∙ 62% of eBook readers were the Amazon Kindle
∙ 22% of eBook readers were the Nook from Barnes and Noble.
∙ 28% of Americans aged 18 or older own other portable devices such as a smartphone or tablet computer.
∙ 85% of respondents who do not own any type of eBook reader reported that they had no interested in owning an eBook Reader.
∙ In 2010 the number of Americans reporting ownership of some type of eBook reader was only 6%.
∙ 58% of eBook reader owners reported that they were reading a print book just the previous day.
∙ 5% of the respondents reported that they read 50+ books per year in many different mediums. This is down from the 2012 survey of 13%.

These statistics were predictable but the following stats were interesting.

∙ 81% prefer printed books when reading to a child, leaving 9% preferring an eBook.
∙ 69% prefer sharing printed books with friends, leaving 25% preferring an eBook.
∙ 43% prefer to read printed books in bed while 45% prefer using an eBook reader.
∙ 35% have a wide selection of printed books to choose form while 53% have a wider selection of eBooks.
∙ 73% prefer using an eBook reader while traveling with 19% still preferring a printed book.
∙ 83% like the speed at which you can get an eBook leaving 13% believing they are able to purchase a print book quicker.


Technology has certainly changed how American read. Ownership of print books has gone down drastically causing many used book stores and book chains to close their doors. While lending eBooks is on the horizon, the solution to how it will be implemented has not been reached. Libraries are also suffering from this shift and are leading the path to lending eBook programs. However, there is still a large percentage of those who have no interest in owning an eBook reader so it remains to be seen if this market has reached a saturation point.

Most interestingly, consumers who own eBook readers are still voracious consumers of print books for many different reasons. They like print books to read with their children or they like their bookshelves to be filled with print books. What we find is eBook readers are far more convenient for travel and quick access, while print books are just nice to hold and show well on bookshelves. I do not see either going away, unlike the music industry in which this generation has no idea what a Ď45 or LPí actually are.

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Content copyright © 2014 by Kathryn K Free. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Kathryn K Free. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Kathryn K Free for details.

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