Despite the predictions from several years ago that digital reading was a fad-like flash-in-the-pan, a recent telephone survey conducted by the Pew Research Center of nearly 3,000 American consumers ages sixteen and older shows that ebook consumption is on the rise. In keeping with the later predictions that print and digital would co-exist side by side, the rise in e-reading is slow but steady.
“The move toward e-book reading coincides with an increase in ownership of electronic book reading devices,” a press release stated. “In all, the number of owners of either a tablet computer or e-book reading device … grew from 18 percent in late 2011 to 33 percent in 2012.”
Additionally, library ebook lending grew significantly in the time period, with as many as five percent of respondents stating that they had borrowed an ebook, while 31% of those in the survey answered that they knew that library patrons were able to borrow ebooks. Both of those statistics are increases over previous years. As an interesting aside, the report also showed, perhaps unintentionally, where readers are choosing to consume ebooks. The number of e-reader owners went up slightly over the course of more than two years, while the number of tablet owners in that same time frame rose to twenty-five percent of respondents.
According to its website, the Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. As a neutral source of data and analysis, Pew Research does not take policy positions.