Study: E-reading growing in the U.S.

E-reading is on the rise in the United States, with one-fifth (21 percent) of American adults saying they have read an e-book in the past year, the latest study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, “The rise of e-reading,” has found.

Although printed books still dominate, the readership of e-books is growing fast. In June 2010, 95 percent of those who read books “yesterday” were reading in print, and 4 percent were reading e-books. As of December 2011, 84 percent read print books “yesterday” and 15 percent were reading e-books, according to the study, out yesterday.

E-reader and tablet owners also read more books – in both print and digital – than those who do not own the devices. Forty-one percent of tablet owners and 35 percent of e-reader owners said they read more now that they have access to digital content on their devices.

Device owners also buy more books. Seventy-one percent of device owners prefer to purchase their e-books, compared with 61 percent of all readers. Meanwhile, 24 percent of device owners borrow their e-books, compared with 31 percent of all readers.

“The rise of e-books in American culture is part of a larger story about a shift from printed to digital material. Using a broader definition of e-content in a survey ending in December 2011, some 43% of Americans age 16 and older say they have either read an e-book in the past year or have read other long-form content such as magazines, journals, and news articles in digital format on an e-book reader, tablet computer, regular computer, or cell phone,” the study explains.

When it comes to the devices themselves, Kindle is still the most preferred e-reader, with a 62 percent share, followed by the Nook, with 22 percent. Others were the Sony Reader (2 percent), Pandigital (2 percent), Kobo Reader (1 percent), Other (3 percent) and 9 percent said they didn’t know.

Also unsurprisingly, the iPad was the most preferred tablet, with 61 percent. This was followed by the Kindle Fire (14 percent), Samsung Galaxy (5 percent), HP Touchpad (2 percent), Motorola Xoom (1 percent), Nook Color (1 percent), Other (11 percent) and 6 percent said they didn’t know.

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