Four key takeaways from Pew’s new e-reading study


Credit: Amazon

E-reader and tablet owners read more books — print and digital — than people who don’t own those devices. In its new report, “The Rise of E-reading,” the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that the average e-book reader read 24 books in the past 12 months, while the average non-e-book reader read 15 books. Overall, 41 percent of tablet owners and 35 percent of e-reader owners said they read more now that digital content is available.

Of those who own a dedicated e-reader (like Amazon (s AMZN) Kindle or Barnes & Noble (s BKS) Nook), 49% are reading an e-book “on any given day” and 59% are reading a printed book. 39 percent of tablet owners are reading an e-book on any given day and 64 percent are reading a print book.

The longer people own an e-reader or tablet, the more likely they are to say that they are reading more: “45% of those who had owned an e-reader for more than a year said they were reading more, vs. 30% of those who had owned an e-reader for less than six months.”

Kindle is still the preferred e-reader, by far.

And iPad (s AAPL) is still the preferred tablet, though Kindle Fire’s market share grew hugely after the holidays: from 5% in mid-December to 14% in mid-January.

Device owners are getting a lot of reading recommendations from online bookstores.

Borrowing is still a fuzzy concept. Pew says “among device owners who read e-books, 71% prefer to purchase their e-books, compared with 61% of all readers. Another 24% of device owners prefer to borrow their e-books, compared with 31% of all readers.”

Pew didn’t ask users to elaborate on where they are borrowing the books, but some are clearly turning to libraries.

The report also notes that e-book borrowers may be checking Kindle Owners’ Lending Library or taking advantage of the limited lending opportunities provided by some publishers through Kindle and Nook.

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