September 6, 2016
Today, in news that doesn’t surprise me, the Pew Research Center has revealed through a just-released study that Americans are more likely to read books on their tablets or cellphones than on a dedicated e-reader.
“The share of Americans who read books on tablets or cellphones has increased substantially since 2011,” Pew explains, “while the share using dedicated e-readers has remained stable.”
Notably, the e-readers are not dropping away. They picked their medium of choice way back in 2011 and are staying strong. However, like a tree growing around a bike, the steadily increasing number of cellphone-reading Americans has passed the e-reader crowd by.
Okay, Technically, the Difference Is Just a Few Percentage Points
But the important metric here is that cellphone book reading is still on the rise, while e-book readers have leveled off. Here are the official numbers, from Pew:
“Tablet computer and smartphone ownership have each increased dramatically in recent years, and a growing share of Americans are using these multipurpose mobile devices – rather than dedicated e-readers – to read books. Between 2011 and 2016, the number of Americans who read books on tablet computers has increased nearly fourfold (from 4% to 15%), while the share who read books on smartphones has more than doubled (from 5% to 13%). The share of Americans who read books on desktop or laptop computers has also increased, although by a more modest amount: 11% of Americans now do this, up from 7% in 2011.
By contrast, 8% of Americans now report that they read books using dedicated e-reader devices – nearly identical to the 7% who reported doing so in 2011.”
But Neither Beats Print Book Readers
Print books, which had a 576-year head start, are still ahead. By a lot:
“Readers today can access books in several common digital formats, but print books remain substantially more popular than either e-books or audio books. Roughly two-thirds of Americans (65%) have read a print book in the last year, which is identical to the share of Americans who reported doing so in 2012 (although down slightly from the 71% who reported reading a print book in 2011). By contrast, 28% of Americans have read an e-book […] in the last year.”
Still, the evidence shows that e-readers are a little outdated: Tablets and smartphones can deliver essentially the same book reading experience while also letting people tweet, text, email, and locate the nearest Squirtle.
Did you like this article?
Get more delivered to your inbox just like it!