Things might be starting to look up for booksellers, authors, and publishers. A report released today by the Pew Research Center shows that one-fifth of U.S. adults have read an e-book in the last year and that e-reader owners not only prefer to buy rather than borrow books, but they also read more books.
"Those who have taken the plunge into reading e-books stand out in almost every way from other kinds of readers," the report's authors write. "Foremost, they are relatively avid readers of books in all formats: 88 percent of those who read e-books in the past 12 months also read printed books."
With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Pew surveyed nearly 3,000 Americans ages 16 and older last November and December. The research center found that e-book readers go through an average of 24 books a year, while those who don't own the digital devices read an average of 15 books a year.
"Still, those who read e-books are not abandoning printed books," the authors write. "Overall, in the past year, 72 percent of adults read a print book, compared to the 21 percent who read an e-book, and 11 percent who listened to an audiobook."
According to the report, people use e-books when they want speedy access in buying a book and easy portability while they are traveling. However, users still prefer print when sharing books with their friends or reading to children.
"E-book readers and tablet computers are finding their place in the rhythms of readers' lives," one of the report's authors Kathryn Zickuhr said in a statement. "But printed books still serve as the physical currency when people want to share the stories they love."
Other major findings Pew found were that four times as many people now read e-books than two years ago, e-book reading happens on several types of devices, including Kindles, Nooks, smartphones, and tablets, and that Amazon's Kindle Fire grew in tablet market share from 5 percent in mid-December to 14 percent in mid-January.
"Every institution connected to the creation of knowledge and storytelling is experiencing a revolution in the way information is packaged and disseminated," another author of the report Lee Rainie said in a statement. "It's now clear that readers are embracing a new format for books and a significant number are reading more because books can be plucked out of the air."