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December 28, 2012

Pew Survey: EBook Readers on the Rise

By Kasey Schefflin-Emrich, TMCnet Contributing Writer

EBook readers are on the rise according to a new survey from the Pew (News - Alert) Research Center.

In fact, findings show that the number of Americans aged 16 and older who read EBooks has increased from 16 to 23 percent over the last year. Moreover, those reading traditional print books have deceased from 72 to 67 percent.

The growth in this market share is the direct result of a spike in tablet devices. The number of Americans who own a tablet device such as an iPad or Kindle Fire has increased from 10 to 25 percent since 2011, while those who own an e-reader have also increased from 10 to 19 percent. Thos who select to read their books electronically tend to be college educated and affluent individuals between the ages of 30 and 49.

“These data show that the process of book reading is shifting,” Lee Rainie, director of Pew's Internet and American Life Project, said in a statement. "The rise of e-reading devices has major implications that are affecting the publishing industry and eventually could affect the way knowledge is packaged and the way ideas are spread.”

The transition to EBooks has especially had an impact on libraries.

"The share of recent library users who have borrowed an EBook from a library has increased from three percent last year to five percent this year," the report states. "Moreover, awareness of EBook lending by libraries is growing. The share of those in the overall population who are aware that libraries offer EBooks has jumped from 24 percent late last year to 31 percent now."

Additionally, the number of individuals who didn't know if their local library had an e-book program decreased from 63 to 57 percent from the last year.

These Pew findings suggest that the print industry may soon be a thing of the past as we move into a more digitalized world.

Edited by Jamie Epstein
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