October 9, 2013
Poll shows ereaders lead to more reading, online sharing
by Julia Fleischaker
A poll conducted by USA Today and Bookish found that 40% of adults now own an ereader or tablet. A steep increase in ownership, the paper notes that it is more than double the number from less than two years ago. Seemingly popular across all age groups, though unsurprisingly most prevalent among the under-40 set, ereading devices are most popular “among college graduates (60% say they have one) and those with annual household incomes of at least $75,000 (62%).” In nice news for publishers and authors, 35% of respondents reported reading more after getting an ereading device.
In addition to reading habits, the poll looked at how readers discover books, and how likely they are to share their opinions on what they read. The poll found that a “majority (57%) cite their own opinion of the writer’s previous work as the major factor.” Word of mouth from relatives and friends was the second most popular choice, with 43% of respondents. Also listed, but with less influence, were “professional reviewers and other writers (each 17%), the book cover (16%) and Internet opinions by non-professionals (10%).” Among all respondents, 27% of readers reported using social media to comment on or review a book. That number rises to 50% when looking just at readers under 40.
Some other questions the poll addressed:
• Why do you read books?
To learn something (72%), to be entertained (64%), to be able to talk with others about the books you’ve read (19%).
• What keeps you from reading more books?
More than half — 51% — cite lack of time as a major factor. Only 16% say lack of interest in reading; 14% cite a lack of quality books.
• How often does a book play a role for you in meeting a new friend or romantic partner?
Never, say 78%. But others says romances and friendships do spring from books often (3%) or sometimes (7%).
• And for those reading more because of their devices, what kinds of books are you reading more of? (Readers could list up to three genres.)
Nearly one in four — 23% — mentioned science fiction or fantasy, followed by mystery and crime (16%), romance (14%) and non-fiction (14%).
Julia Fleischaker is a former director of marketing and publicity at Melville House.