Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


E-book revolution: We're reading more than ever

A study by the Pew Internet Project finds that consumers who use e-readers are buying more books.

By Husna Haq / April 5, 2012

Readers of e-books read an average of 10 books more per year than readers of print books, according to a new study by the Pew Internet Project.

Brian Snyder/Reuters

Enlarge

If you read an e-book in the past year – or suspected your holiday gift of an e-reader has led you to read more – you’re not alone.

Skip to next paragraph

Recent posts

Some 21 percent of adults have read an e-book in the past year, according to a new study by the Pew Internet Project. What’s more, readers of e-books read an average of 10 books more per year than readers of print books.

According to the Pew report, the average reader of e-books had read an average of 24 books in the past 12 months compared to 15 books for non e-book consumers.

In effect, the digital revolution really is transforming our reading habits and the publishing industry as a whole – and this is just the beginning.

“Every institution connected to the creation of knowledge and storytelling is experiencing a revolution in the way information is packaged and disseminated,” said Lee Rainie, one of the authors of the Pew Internet Project report, in a statement. “It’s now clear that readers are embracing a new format for books and a significant number are reading more because books can be plucked out of the air.”

In fact, some 30 percent of those who read e-content say they spend more time reading, a figure many e-reader owners can attest to. (Of course, you don’t need an e-reader like a Nook or Kindle, to read e-content. According to the study, among those who reported reading an e-book in the past 12 months, 42 percent had read it on a computer, 41 percent on an e-reading device, 29 percent on a cell phone, and 23 percent on a tablet computer.) 

And good news for publishers: e-readers also buy more. Those who own e-book reading devices not only read more books, but prefer to buy, rather than borrow, books. (That explains why Amazon is selling Kindles like hotcakes, at a loss – to sell more content.) 

As bibliophiles, we have to admit we were relieved to learn that the e-reading revolution hasn’t left print books, those lovely bastions of literature, in the dust. Those who read e-books are not abandoning print books. On the contrary, some 88 percent of those who read e-books in the past year also read print books, according to the Pew report.

Print books continue to have a place in our hearts (How do you stock your shelves with e-books?), and we’re not alone. In a head-to-head competition, people prefer e-books to printed books when they want speedy access and portability, but print wins out when people are reading to children and sharing books with others.

“E-book readers and tablet computers are finding their place in the rhythms of readers’ lives,” said Kathryn Zickuhr, an author of the Pew report, in a statement. “But printed books still serve as the physical currency when people want to share the stories they love.”

We’re glad there’s room for both.

Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.

Permissions

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Editors' picks:

What are you reading?

Let me know about a good book you've read recently, or about the book that's currently on your bedside table. Why did you pick it up? Are you enjoying it?

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Endeavor Global, cofounded by Linda Rottenberg (here at the nonprofit’s headquarters in New York), helps entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Linda Rottenberg helps people pursue dreams – and create thousands of jobs

She's chief executive of Endeavor Global, a nonprofit group that gives a leg up to budding entrepreneurs.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!