January 21, 2014

PEW study confirms ebooks are not replacing print


A new study of American reading preferences conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project was released last week, and it indicates that, while the number of people who read ebooks has increased, those same people are still also reading regular print books. The study calls physical books the “foundation of American reading habits.”

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.

Tablets are becoming more popular than e-readers, just as reading on phones and portable laptops is becoming more common.

The survey was conducted over four days in January 2013 (last year).  It is based on a sample size of 1,006 adults, with a margin of  3.4 percentage points.

Mashable‘s headline regarding the survey —“E-Books Aren’t Going to Make Print Obsolete Anytime Soon”—addresses a long feared scenario in which ebooks would cannibalize print sales, something that fortunately hasn’t happened.

Claire Kelley is a the former Director of Library and Academic Marketing.