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Digital devices have changed the way users are consuming media of all stripes; that goes for the printed word as much as any other type of content. A poll of US consumers conducted in August 2013 by USA Today and book recommendation site Bookish found that ownership rates of the devices remained relatively low. According to the survey, only 24% of respondents owned an ereader or similar device intended primarily for reading. Tablet ownership rates were unsurprisingly higher, at 32%.
The ereader penetration rate reported by the survey is somewhat higher than eMarketer’s estimate, which puts ereader usage at 20% of the overall population in 2013. eMarketer also projects that it will take until 2017 for ereader penetration to reach 23.3%, with the expectation that growth rates will taper off to around 4% by 2016.
USA Today and Bookish found that these devices are clearly influencing reading habits—or perhaps that those most likely to buy such devices were readers all along. Device owners read an average of 18 books per year, compared with 11 among those without gadgets.
But the device-owning readers credited their electronics with influencing them to be more bookish. More than one-third of respondents had read more books as a result of ereader or tablet ownership.
The poll also found that social media had become a part of the reading experience for a significant number of those age 40 or younger. Among this group, almost four in 10 had posted something about a book they had read on Facebook, tweeted about it or posted a comment on a book website. Among those age 40 or older, only about two in 10 had done something similar.
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