Does owning a Kindle (s amzn) or a Nook (s bns) make you more likely to buy and read books? According to a new survey released today, it sure does. The study by L.E.K. Consulting shows that while e-reader owners are still a relatively small proportion of the population, almost half of them say they are reading more books. And a large number of those books are new books — in other words, books they would not otherwise have bought or read.
Survey respondents also said they’re reading more newspapers and magazines, which could fan the embers of hope that are still smoldering in the declining print media industry — embers that flared up recently with news of Apple’s (s aapl) much-hyped tablet, which is expected to be launched at a gala event later this month.
Of the 10 percent of consumers who own e-readers, 48 percent told L.E.K. that they were reading more books vs. just 7 percent who said their book reading decreased. E-reader owners also said they were reading more newspapers than before (59 percent) and more magazines (44 percent). According to L.E.K., 36 percent of the books read by people with e-readers are “incremental consumption,” representing new books rather than books the owner would otherwise have read in print.
The global consulting group reported the findings in its second annual “Hidden Opportunities in New Media Survey” of more than 2,000 households. The study also showed that 44 percent of e-reader owners increased their new media usage in the last year, compared with 16 percent of iPod owners and 19 per cent of Facebook users (new media was defined as watching movies or streaming video, listening to audio or playing multiplayer online video games).
“The fact that Amazon sold more Kindle books than printed books on Christmas Day 2009 speaks volumes,” L.E.K. vice president Dan Schechter said in a news release. “We’ve dubbed the 10 percent of consumers who own an e-reader as the ‘E-reader Republic,’ and think that it is a potential goldmine for content providers and advertisers alike.”
While iPod owners consumed about nine hours per week of new media, e-reader owners consumed more than 18 hours a week. L.E.K. said the survey is considered demographically representative of the U.S. population over 18 years of age.
Related GigaOM Pro Research: Evolution of the e-Book Market