One of the factors for the increased e-book readership is the rapid diffusion of handheld readers - in the form of dedicated readers like the Kindle, and/or in the form of tablets. The study reports that, currently, half of Americans own tablets and/or e-readers. In fact, e-book readers are almost as likely (55%) to use tablets for reading as they use e-readers (57%).
Tablet ownership growth and diffusion now outpaces that for e-readers. In May, 2010, only 3% of American adults reported owning a table, growing to 42% by early January, 2014. E-reader ownership was at 4% in May, 2010, rising to 32% in the latest survey. As you'd expect, there are demographic differences in device ownership, those reporting reading at least one book (or ebook) a year, and in the number of books read annually. However, only a few differences were sizable -
- Older Americans, those with less than a high school education, and lower income, were all less likely to own handheld devices for reading.
- In a bit of a surprise, younger adults (18-29) were also much less likely to have e-readers than tablets.
- Hispanics were much less likely to report having read a book in the last year, both in print and e-book formats.
- Age mattered in reporting having read an e-book (the older the less likely), but not in reading print books.
- More women reported reading a book than men (74% v 64% for printed books; 33% v 23% for e-books)
- E-book readers haven't abandoned print - 87% of those reading an e-book also report reading a printed book.
The study shows that women are not only more likely than men to have read a book, they also tend to read more books in a year. Again, the other noticeable drop-off is for those self-identifying as Hispanic. While there is likely some interaction effects with other demographic factors, I wonder if language (and the relative scarcity of Spanish-language books in the U.S.) might also be a contributing factor.
As an avid e-reader, I've noticed that I'm running across more and more non-English language books in the Kindle and iBook stores - but still nowhere near the number and variety of English-language books. So relative scarcity and lack of diversity of Spanish-language books may be a contributing factor in the lower readership levels among Hispanics.
Source - E-Reading Rises as Device Ownership Jumps, Pew Internet & American Life Project report.