More Americans Now Reading Ebooks, New Pew Data Show

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A higher proportion of U.S. adults are reading ebooks than ever before, according to new data from the Pew Internet & American Life project.

Some 28% of Americans read an ebook last year, up from 23% in 2012. Even as ebooks rise in popularity, Americans are still reading print books. Even those who read ebooks also read print books: only 4% of readers are “ebook only,” according to the data.

pew research data

Overall reading by Americans hasn’t changed in the past few years, with about three out of four having read at least one book and the “typical” American having read five, according to the data. The data is based on a survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,005 U.S. adults aged 18 and up.

Even as more Americans are reading ebooks, sales of ebooks by publishers have not increased substantially through the first three-quarters of 2013. According to the latest data from the Association of American publishers, which surveys over 1,000 U.S. publishers on their overall sales figures every month, ebook sales are up 2.2% in 2013 over 2012.

The increase in the proportion of Americans who have read an ebook could be explained by increased device ownership. Both e-reader and tablet ownership increased markedly in 2013. Now, 50% of Americans have either a tablet or e-reader, which is up from 43% in Sept. 2013, and even more significantly from 2012.

pew device ownership among americans

At the same time, more Americans are reading ebooks on their cell phones, with 32% of ebook readers saying they do so, up from 28% a year ago.

More useful charts and data from the Pew report:

Ebook Reading by Age Group Over Time

pew ebook reading by age group

How Ebook Readers Read Ebooks Over Time

pew ebook reading by device

A Snapshot of Reading Habits of Americans

pew reading snapshot

 

For more stats and insights, the complete Pew report can be seen here.

 

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