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Booming market: One-fifth of US adults now read e-books; e-readers spurring people to read more overall

It might be that the popularity of e-readers is simply due to people scrabbling about for ideas of what to get family and friends for Christmas rather than people actually wanting one and buying it themselves. Either way, once the wrapping comes off, it seems recipients of these devices are rather enjoying using them, with the results of a study by the Pew Research Center showing that by February this year one in five Americans had read an e-book.

Those companies in the printing game possibly have nothing to fear just yet, as Pew’s report pointed out that 88 percent of those who have read an e-book in the last 12 months have also read printed books in the same time period. “The prevalence of e-book reading is markedly growing, but printed books still dominate the world of book readers,” the report’s authors said.

And there’s more good news for the publishing industry in general, with the report saying that owners of e-readers read more overall than those without such a device, and are more likely to buy their reading material rather than borrow it.

Pew polled just under 3,000 Americans aged 16 and older for its study, which took place over a period of four months starting in November last year.

The results showed that ownership of e-readers such as the Kindle and Nook did indeed spike over the holiday gift-giving season, jumping from 10 percent in December to 19 percent the following month.

The report said that e-book readers read an average of 24 books a year; this compares with 15 books by those not owning an e-reader. Furthermore, around 41 percent of tablet owners and 35 percent of e-reader owners saying they are reading more overall since getting their device.

There’s little doubt that e-readers are creeping evermore into the lives of those living in the US, with Pew’s research revealing that four times more people are now reading e-books compared to two years ago.

In many cases, the format a reader chose depended on their needs at the time. For example, people turned to their e-reader when speedy access and portability were essential, whereas for sharing and reading books to children, print books won out.

Overall, the results point towards a healthy publishing industry, with both formats, for the time being at least, able to exist happily alongside each other.

If you use an e-reader, do you still turn to printed books from time to time, or are the days of thumbing paper pages well and truly over?

[Image: daniilantiq / Shutterstock]

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