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Ebook Readers Use Devices to Supplement, Not Replace, Printed Media

Ebook readers use tablets, ereaders in similar numbers

Readers in the US are continuing their love affair with the printed word. And while it would be easy to assume that digital devices are replacing traditionally printed books, magazines and newspapers, data from the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project indicated that readers appear to be supplementing print books with ebooks.

A January 2014 survey of US consumers conducted by the organization found that the percentage of respondents who had read a print book over the preceding 12 months had dipped and then rebounded between 2011 and 2014, while the use of ebooks had seen steady gains.

Interestingly, a preference for dedicated ereaders over tablets seems to be eroding among ebook readers. The survey found that the number of respondents who had read an ebook on an ereader jumped from 41% to 57% between December 2011 and January 2014. But the number of respondents who used a tablet had climbed even more dramatically, going from 23% to 55% over the same time period.

This finding is not entirely surprising given that the uses of tablets and ereaders overlap, and that the distinction between these two device categories is an increasingly blurred one. It is interesting to note, however, that ebook readers have been retreating from using computers. Undoubtedly, the portable form factor of tablets and ereaders has allowed consumers to replicate their reading habits with printed materials more naturally.

The survey also found that ereader ownership rates were higher amongst those ages 30 to 49 and among college graduates. Those with an income of at least $75,000 also owned ereaders in the largest numbers.

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