Monday, January 27, 2014

How We Read in America: Books, eBooks and AudioBooks Demographics

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The Pew Internet and American Life Project recently released a report about Americans and their reading habits when it comes to books, ebooks and audiobooks. Especially interesting is their breakdown of the demographics of who uses each of those three reading resources.

Overall, 76% of adults read a book in some format over the previous 12 months. The typical American adult (i.e. the median) read or listened to 5 books in the past year, and the average for all adults (i.e. the mean) was 12 books. Neither the mean nor median number of books read has changed significantly over the past few years.

As of January of 2014, 50% of Americans now have a dedicated handheld device–either a tablet computer like an iPad, or an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook for reading e-content. That figure has grown from 43% of adults who had either of those devices in September of 2013.

The proportion of Americans who read e-books is growing, but few have completely replaced print books for electronic versions. The percentage of adults who read an e-book in the past year has risen to 28%, up from 23% at the end of 2012. At the same time, about seven in ten Americans reported reading a book in print, up four percentage points after a slight dip in 2012, and 14% of adults listened to an audiobook. Though e-books are rising in popularity, print remains the foundation of Americans’ reading habits. Most people who read e-books also read print books, and just 4% of readers are “e-book only.”

Extremely interesting is the demographic breakouts for each of these various reading trends.
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Among the cited observations and trends were that women are more likely than men to have read a book in the previous 12 months, and those with higher levels of income and education are more likely to have done so as well. In addition, blacks are more likely to have read a book than Hispanics. There were no significant differences by age group for rates of reading overall.

In terms of book format, women are more likely than men to have read a print book or an e-book, as are whites and blacks compared with Hispanics and those with higher education and incomes compared with others. Younger adults are also more likely than those ages 65 and older to have read e-books, as are those who live in urban and suburban areas compared with rural residents. Finally, adults with higher levels of education are more likely to have read audiobooks than those who did not attend college.

There is much more information included in the report so please visit the PEW website and explore the rest of their findings!