Nearly Half of U.S. Adults Now Own Smartphones: New Frontier for Book Publishers?

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According to a new study, 45% of all U.S. adults now own a smartphone, about double the proportion that own dedicated e-readers or tablet computers, currently making smartphones the most common mobile e-reading devices.

The proportion of young adults (18 to 29 years old) who own a smartphone is even higher, with two-thirds owning one, according to the new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Almost the same proportion of U.S. adults aged 30 to 49 year own a smartphone (59%).

With fewer e-book buyers gravitating toward dedicated e-readers as their reading device of choice, tablets, smartphones and other e-reading venues will become more important for publishers to pay attention to. According to two other Pew studies, in the earlier part of this year, about one fifth of U.S. adults owned an e-reader and about the same proportion owned a tablet computer.

Those numbers are set to change in a big way. Worldwide, about 102 million tablets are set to be shipped to consumers in 2012 while that number is 11 million for e-readers.

Just because a consumer owns a tablet computer or smartphone, however, doesn’t mean they will read books on it.

According to an April Pew study:

– 42% of e-book readers consume their books on a computer
– 41% of e-book readers use an e-book reader like original Kindles or Nooks
– 29% of e-book readers read books on their cell phones
– 23% of e-book readers read books on a tablet computer

Publishers are already thinking about new ways their content can and should appear on tablets. Perhaps they should be taking a second look at smartphones, too.

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One thought on “Nearly Half of U.S. Adults Now Own Smartphones: New Frontier for Book Publishers?

  1. I believe it! I’m totally addicted to reading Kindle ebooks on my iPhone. I didn’t know how I would like it, since I’d been published in paperback for 23 with numerous publishers, and reading ebooks on computer never jibed with me. But after reading the first book on the Kindle app I was hooked! Now I read all books on my iPhone. It’s so convenient to have my library with me all the time on my phone. I mean, you never know when you’ll have a few minutes to read!

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