One in Six Americans Now Use e-Reader with One in Six Likely to Purchase in Next Six Months

e-Reader users likely to both read and purchase more books than non-users

Sep 19, 2011, 12:13 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The options keep changing and bookstores are starting to feel the pressure. One major chain closed its doors for good this month while some of the others have rolled out their own e-Reader devices and are upgrading them regularly. Even The New York Times has changed the way it looks at bestsellers. It used to be just fiction and non-fiction; now it's also print versus e-Reader. And this is for a good reason as one in six Americans (15%) uses an e-Reader device up from less than one in ten (8%) a year ago. Also, among those who do not have an e-Reader, one in six (15%) say they are likely to get an e-Reader device in the next six months.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100517/NY06256LOGO)

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,183 adults surveyed online between July 11 and 18, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

While some may lament the introduction of the e-Reader as a death knell for books, the opposite is probably true. First, those who have e-Readers do, in fact, read more. Overall, 16% of Americans read between 11 and 20 books a year with one in five reading 21 or more books in a year (20%). But, among those who have an e-Reader, one-third read 11-20 books a year (32%) and over one-quarter read 21 or more books in an average year (27%).

E-Reader users are also more likely to buy books. One-third of Americans (32%) say they have not purchased any books in the past year compared to only 6% of e-Reader users who say the same. One in ten Americans purchased between 11 and 20 books (10%) or 21 or more books (9%) in the past year. Again, e-Reader users are more likely to have bought, or downloaded books, as 17% purchased between 11 and 20 and 17% purchased 21 or more books in the past year.

Change in reading habits

One of the criticisms of e-Readers is that people who have them may download more books than they would traditionally purchase, but read at the same levels. So far this criticism is not holding true at all. Half of both e-Reader users (50% and non-users (51%) say they read the same amount as they did six months ago. However, while one-quarter of non e-Reader users (24%) say they are reading less than they did before (compared to just 8% of e-Reader users), over one-third of e-Reader users (36%) say they are reading more compared to just 16% of non-users.

Favorite Genre

Regardless of how they are reading it, there are types of books people like to read. Among those who say they read at least one book in an average year, three-quarters say they read both fiction (76%) and non-fiction (76%) but certain types of books rise to the top in both categories. Among fiction categories, almost half of readers say they read mystery, thriller and crime books (47%), while one-quarter read science fiction (25%), literature (23%) and romance (23%). One in ten read graphic novels (10%) while 8% read "chick-lit" and 5% read Westerns. Among non-fiction categories, almost three in ten readers say they read biographies (29%) while one-quarter read history (27%) and religious and spirituality books (24%). Just under one in five readers (18%) read self-help books, while 13% read true crime, 12% read current affairs, 11% read political books and 10% read business books.

So what?

E-Readers are definitely here to stay and this means the publishing world needs to learn to change with the times. The printing press is considered one of the world's greatest inventions and one of the first printed books, the Gutenberg Bible is still considered one of the rarest among bibliophiles. There will always be a place for books in hard cover or paperback. But, there must also be a place for reading devices as well. Readers are quickly catching on to this wave as have the booksellers. This is a huge transition time for publishing companies and how they adapt will determine who is still standing ten years from now.

TABLE 1

USE E-READER

"Do you use an electronic reader device, such as a Kindle, an iPad or a Nook, to read books?"

Base: All adults



Total

2010

Total

2011

Region

East

Midwest

South

West

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

8

15

19

9

14

20

No

92

85

81

91

86

80


Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding




TABLE 2

LIKELY TO GET AN E-READER

"How likely do you think you will be to get an e-reader device within the next six months?"

Base: Adults who do not use an e-reader



Total

2010

Total

2011

Region

East

Midwest

South

West

%

%

%

%

%

%

Likely (NET)

12

15

15

15

15

15

    Very likely

3

4

5

4

4

2

    Somewhat likely

9

11

10

11

11

13

Not likely (NET)

80

76

79

75

73

78

    Not very likely

21

25

31

20

21

32

    Not at all likely

59

50

48

55

52

46

Not at all sure

8

10

7

10

12

8


Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding



TABLE 3

BOOKS READ IN A YEAR

"How many books do you typically read in an average year?  If you are not sure, please use your best estimate."

Base: All adults



Total

2010

Total

2011

e-Reader

Generation

Uses

Does not use

Echo Boomers (18-34)

Gen. X (35-65)

Baby Boomers (47-65)

Matures (66+)

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

0

9

15

8

18

13

19

17

12

1-2

14

14

7

15

9

15

18

11

3-5

20

20

14

21

23

17

20

17

6-10

16

15

18

15

17

14

14

16

11-20

21

16

32

13

20

14

14

15

21+

19

20

27

19

19

20

17

29


Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding



TABLE 4

BOOKS PURCHASED IN PAST YEAR

"How many books have you purchased in the past year?  If you are not sure, please use your best estimate."

Base: All adults



Total

2010

Total

2011

e-Reader

Uses

Does not use

%

%

%

%

0

21

32

6

36

1-2

17

17

12

18

3-5

22

17

20

17

6-10

17

15

28

13

11-20

11

10

17

9

21+

12

9

17

8


Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding




TABLE 5

CHANGE IN READING HABITS

"Over the past 6 months, how have your reading habits changed?  Please choose the statement that best describes you."

Base: All adults



Total

2010

Total

2011

e-Reader

Uses

Does not use

%

%

%

%

I read the same amount as I did before

49

51

50

51

I read less than I did before.

23

21

8

24

I read more than I did before.

21

19

36

16

I purchase more books now, but do not read them as readily as I did before.

4

3

4

3

Not at all sure

4

6

2

6


Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; * indicates less than .05%



TABLE 6

TYPES OF BOOKS READ

"What types of books have you read in the past year? Please select all that apply."

Base: Adults who read at least one book in average year



Total

Generation

Gender

Echo Boomers

(18-34)

Gen. X (35-46)

Baby Boomers (47-65)

Matures (66+)

Male

Female

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

FICTION (NET)

76

79

73

73

77

67

83

 Mystery, Thriller and Crime

47

41

46

49

57

36

57

 Science Fiction

25

26

29

26

16

32

19

 Literature

23

36

22

16

14

23

23

 Romance

23

21

24

20

28

4

38

 Graphic Novels

10

14

11

8

8

11

9

 Chick-Lit

8

12

10

4

4

3

12

 Westerns

5

4

6

6

7

5

6

 Other Fiction

33

37

33

27

36

27

37

NON-FICTION (NET)

76

68

82

81

73

78

74

 Biographies

29

24

30

29

37

31

27

 History

27

24

24

27

36

37

19

 Religious and Spirituality

24

19

28

27

22

19

28

 Self-help

18

13

25

21

13

15

20

 True Crime

13

13

19

14

5

8

17

 Current Affairs

12

12

10

15

11

15

10

 Political

11

11

12

10

13

17

7

 Business

10

10

12

11

7

15

6

 Other non-fiction

26

32

30

21

22

27

26


Note: Multiple responses accepted




Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between July 11 to 18, 2011 among 2,183 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J40488

Q755, 757, 760, 768, 773, 793

The Harris Poll® #99, September 19, 2011
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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SOURCE Harris Interactive



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