Pew survey: Reading of print books increased in 2013

The Pew survey found that e-reading increased as well but that more adults read a print book in 2013 than in the previous year. 'Print remains the foundation of Americans’ reading habits,' the report stated.

Ted Anthony/AP
A recent Pew survey found that 69 percent of Americans read a print book in 2013, up from 65 percent in 2012.

Good news for bibliophiles: not only have print books pulled through the digital revolution, traditional books remain the bread and butter of Americans’ reading habits.

That’s the conclusion of a recent survey from the Pew Research Center that found more Americans actually read print books in 2013 than in the previous year.

Some 28 percent of adults read an e-book in the past year, up 23 percent from 2012, according to the Pew report. But that didn’t cut into print books: 69 percent of adults read a print book in the past year, up four percentage points from 2012.

“Though e-books are rising in popularity, print remains the foundation of Americans’ reading habits,” the report concluded. “Most people who read e-books also read print books, and just 4 percent of readers are ‘e-book only.’”

E-readers are continuing to grow in popularity, however, Some 42 percent of adults now own tablet computers, up from 34 percent in September 2013.

That rise may be contributing to an overall growth in reading. Some 76 percent of adults read a book in some format over the previous year, up slightly from the same period in 2012.

How many books does the average American read or listen to? According to the survey, the “typical American adult” read or listened to five books in the past year, and the average for all adults was 12 books.

And when it comes to format, readers have become less discriminating, reading across multiple formats that include print, e-book, and audiobook, with significant overlap.

Some 87 percent of those who read e-books also read a print book and 29 percent additionally listened to an audiobook. By contrast, some 35 percent of print book readers also read an e-book and 17 percent listened to an audiobook.

The findings echo earlier reports that show that while readers may love their e-reading devices, they are increasingly turning to both print and e-books.

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