Pew: US e-book reading up, print book readership declines

23 percent of Americans surveyed said they read an e-book in the last 12 months

More Americans read e-books in the last year, with 23 percent of those ages 16 and over going digital, compared to 16 percent in the previous survey for the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which released its latest results on e-book readership Thursday.

The rise coincided with a larger percentage jump in e-reading device ownership. Those owning a tablet computer such as an iPad or Galaxy Tab, or an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook, rose to 33 percent late this year compared to 18 percent in late 2011. As of November, a quarter of Americans 16 and older owned a tablet, up from 10 percent in late 2011, while 19 percent owned an e-reader, up from 10 percent in the previous survey.

The survey also found that those who read books in print declined to 67 percent from 72 percent. The overall number of book readers, however, remained at 75 percent, down from 78 percent in late 2011, a drop that study authors Lee Rainie and Maeve Duggan termed "statistically insignificant." Rainie is director of the Pew Internet Project and Duggan is a research assistant.

Those with college or graduate degrees, those in households with income of more than $75,000, and those between the ages of 30 and 49, are most likely to read e-books.

Thirty-percent of all book readers said they read an e-book in the last year, while 89 percent read a printed book and 17 percent listened to an audio book, the survey found.

A larger share of library users also borrowed e-books, 5 percent compared to 3 percent last year. Awareness that libraries lend e-books also rose, with 31 percent who were surveyed saying they knew that libraries did so, up from 24 percent late last year.

The Pew Research Center, in Washington, D.C., surveyed 2,252 Americans 16 and older between Oct. 15 and Nov. 10 this year.

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Tags internettabletshardware systemsconsumer electronicsentertainmente-readersPew Research Center

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Nancy Weil

IDG News Service
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