The number of e-book readers seems to be growing dramatically, according to a survey conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project. As of February 2012, one in five Americans (21%) report to have read an e-book in the past year, compared to 17% in December of last year.
The survey not only showed an increase in e-book usage, but also an increase in reading altogether. Although e-books and electronic devices have opened the door to more content, the main source for readers is still print.
The average e-book reader read 24 books in the past 12 months and 30% of them said they read more content now than they did before e-reading was available. During the December survey, 72% said they had read a printed version of a book in the past year, which showed how dominant printed works still are. But it seems that even that 72% shared in e-reading, with 88% reading from both mediums.
The report said that there are four times as many people reading e-books daily compared to less than two years ago. That number may be a bit skewed, however, due to the fact that a majority of tablets were introduced approximately two years ago, like the iPad (April 2010) and the Nook (Nov. 2009). The Amazon Kindle, the first e-reading tablet, was introduced in November of 2007. The survey was also conducted before and after the Christmas holidays, which brought in more than $471.5 billion in retail sales, according to the National Retail Federation.
The report surveyed 2,986 Americans, ages 16 and older, multiple times. The first survey was conducted Nov. 16 to Dec. 21, 2011, and was followed by two other surveys, Jan. 5-8 and Jan. 12-15. The research group then resurveyed the participants with the same questions from Jan. 20 to Feb. 19 of this year.
The research project was underwritten by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
-Dustin Bass, @dbass_cmn