| April 5, 2012

People Reading More Digital Books on E-Books, Tablets, and Mobile Phones, Surveys Find


By Michael Smith

A few weeks ago, Pearson Foundation released survey results showing a growing love of digital reading among U.S. high school seniors and college students.

The Pearson Foundation Survey on Students and Tablets draws three conclusions:

• E-reading devices (tablets) are on a drastic rise among students;

• Students believe that e-reading devices help them in school, and

• More students are reading digital books than paper print.

Here are some key statistics coming from the study, which Worldreader thought were worth sharing with our community.

• Tablet ownership has tripled year-over-year from 2011 to  2012 (see below), with the biggest rise among high school seniors (4 percent in 2011 to 17 percent in 2012).

• Sixty-five percent believe that e-reading devices help them study and perform better in class.

• Sixty-seven percent believe that e-reading devices/tablets will replace printed text books within 5 years.

• Fifty-eight percent of high school seniors have read digital textbooks this year, compared to 40 percent in 2011.

• Sixty percent of college students prefer reading digitally for fun and for class compared with 33 percent who said they prefer print.

What are international readers buying and what devices are they using?

Last month at the Digital Publishing Conference in New York City, a presentation by U.S. ISBN Agency RR Bowker revealed insightful statistics from a survey of international respondents in 120 countries on e-book buying habits. Among the findings:

• Fiction has its greatest appeal in developed countries;

• Non-fiction and technical books have greater appeal in emerging e-book markets;

• The PC is still the most popular reading device in all markets;

• E-readers are the most popular reading device in the United States and the United Kingdom, and smartphones win in South Korea, and

• India and Brazil have the greatest potential for growth, both in terms of low resistance and high enthusiasm.

Interestingly enough, aside from PCs and laptops, tablets and e-readers are neck-and-neck in the device race for e-book reading, according to RR Bowker.

Also, proving that readers will read in whatever format they can access digital books, mobile phones are becoming another choice device. About 29 percent of people polled in a recent Pew Research Center study (cited in this article) read e-books on their cell phones. That’s great news for the Worldreader app, which was developed by our partner biNu and gives billions of global feature phone users access to news, Facebook, Twitter…. and books.