Omg. My English Major literary elitism is kicking into overdrive this morning—because evidently, some one in four adults didn’t read a single book in the last year. (!!!) That’s according to a Pew study published Thursday, which finds that e-book reading is picking up in popularity as tablets and e-readers become more ubiquitous.
Some 28% of adults read an e-book in the past year, compared to 23% who did so in 2012, and 17% who did so in 2011. That’s despite the fact that reading on the whole has been on the decline since 2011. Some 76% of people read any book at all in the past year, compared to 79% in 2011.
The rise in e-book readership corresponds directly to the rapid rise in tablet and e-reader ownership—which has grown even more since Pew’s most recent study in September. Half of all American adults now own a tablet or e-reader now—up from 43% just last September. Breaking the numbers down by device, 42% of adults now own a tablet (up from 34% in September) while 32% now own an e-reader (up from 24%).
E-readers are still slightly more popular among women than men, but tablet ownership is roughly even. And while e-reader owners tend to be white, between the ages of 30-64, with some college education, tablet owners tend to be younger and from more affluent households.
The number of people who own smartphones or PCs hasn’t changed much—55% and 75%, respectively. BUT, the survey did find that people who read e-books on their tablets or e-readers tend to read them on other devices as well. Example: 32% of adults read an e-book on their cell phone in 2014, compared to 28% in 2011.
Personally, that’s why I get all of my books in e-book format. I actually have a bad habit of grabbing my phone and reading as much of my book as possible when stopped at red lights. It was also great for those times when my son was a baby and he fell asleep in the car (and God help me if I tried to move him) and we had to just sit and wait him out…for hours. Oh! My book is right there on my handy dandy iPhone! Because I’m so erudite that I simply can’t not read all the time (said with eyes closed).
I’m not the only e-book-only reader. Some 5% of adults said they read an e-book in the past year but not a print book. In general, though, the vast majority of those who read an e-book in the last year have also read a print book. Meanwhile, print book readers tend to be more stubborn in their unwillingness to read in other formats. While 87% of e-book readers also read a print book in the past 12 months, and 29% listened to an audiobook, only 35% of print book readers also read an e-book in the past 12 months, and only 17% listened to an audiobook.