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Survey Reveals Consumers’ Interest in eReaders

As Apple released its 3rd iPad to the world a couple of days ago, it seems the market researchers’ attention has once again gone to eReaders that were slowly losing their appeal to the versatility of new-generation tablets.

This past summer, 15% of Americans said they use an electronic reader device such as a Kindle, iPad or Nook to read books while 85% did not. Fast forward seven months, and that number has almost doubled – now almost three in ten U.S. adults (28%) are using one of these devices to read books while 72% are not.

Released Thursday, March 8, these are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,056 U.S. adults surveyed online between Feb. 6 and 13, 2012 by market research company Harris Interactive.

Unlike some new technology, there is not a great divide by age when it comes to eReader use. Among Echo Boomers (ages 18-35) and Gen Xers (aged 36-47) 30% currently use an eReader and that number just drops slightly to 28% among Matures (ages 67 and older) and 24% of Baby Boomers (ages 48-66).

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The Harris survey said 13% of Americans say they are likely to purchase an eReader in the next six months, while 77% are unlikely to do so and 10% are not at all sure. In July, 15% of Americans said they were going to purchase an eReader in the next six months.

The rise of eReaders may actually be a positive for publishing companies who are embracing electronic books. Among those who are currently using an eReader, three in ten (29%) say they typically read more than 20 books in an average year, while one in five (21%) say they read between 11 and 20 books and one-quarter (24%) read between 6 and 10 books.

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So, almost three-quarters of eReader users are reading 6 or more books in an average year. Among those who do not use an eReader, the numbers are reversed as one in five (18%) typically reads no books in an average year, one in five (19%) typically reads between 1 and 2 books and one in five (21%) typically reads between 3 and 5 books. So, three in five non eReader users are reading 5 or fewer books on average in a year, according to the survey.

Purchase behavior is similar. Over one-third of those who do not use an eReader (36%) say they do not purchase any books in a typical year while one in five eReader users purchase over 20 (20%) and between 11 and 20 books (21%) in a typical year.

So, is the printed book dead? Probably not dead, but it is becoming easier to imagine a world without as many printed books. Whether it is Apple, Barnes and Noble or Amazon driving this change, the change is coming and they are gladly adding new devices to make Americans look for the next and greatest one, believes researcher Harris Interactive.

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