E-book reading is on the rise but print still reigns supreme, survey finds

By on January 16, 2014, 6:30 PM

The latest report from Pew’s wide-reaching Internet & American Life survey suggests that while print still remains the foundation of Americans’ reading habits, e-reading is certainly on the rise. Specifically, 28 percent of those polled said they read an e-book last year compared to just 23 percent at the end of 2012.

On the flip side, Pew found that 69 percent of Americans read at least one print book during 2013 which is up four percent from the previous year. Between print and e-books, 76 percent of Americans 18 or older read a book – an increase of two percent year-over-year. Only four percent of those that read do so exclusively with an e-reader.

(That should be 2013, not 2014.)

Breaking it down a bit further, the average American read or listened to five books during the past year.

The obvious takeaway here is that e-book reading is increasing primarily due to the fact that tablets and e-book readers are now in the hands of more consumers. Pew notes that 42 percent of adults now own a tablet while the number of adults that own an e-reader jumped from 24 percent last September to 32 percent after the holidays. In total, half of all adult Americans now own a dedicated handheld device.

In related findings, 92 percent of adults now have a cell phone which includes the 55 percent equipped with smartphones and three out of four have a laptop or a desktop computer. Pew said these figures didn’t change much from pre-holiday surveys.

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