Reading habits over time…. well, one year

I’ve just come across some interesting research on reading habits by the Pew Research Center. It shows what many readers already knew, that e-books continue to grow in prevalence for readers. But there are also less readers. Although, I will state that comparing 2012 to 2011 and drawing conclusions about people who have read at least one book is always troubling. Might as well be comparing New Year’s weight loss programs prior to February first.

Also: One book? In a year? That isn’t a reader, that’s someone who got an unwanted Xmas present.

Anyway, in 2012 75% of US adults (+16) had read at least one book, down 3% on last year. Print books were generally less popular in 2012 across all age groups not still in school (I guess students get to count class assigned books in a survey), and were read by 67% of US adults, down 5%. E-books were 7% more popular, with 23% of adults having read one in 2012, with all age groups embracing them, especially in the 30-49 age bracket. Audio books were slightly more popular (2%) at 13% in 2012, which would be interesting to relate to the rise of Audible and similar online audio book businesses.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I guess now the question is, how do these data compare to avid readers? I’m betting avid readers have a closer split of ebooks to paper books in their reading.

4 thoughts on “Reading habits over time…. well, one year

  1. Tyson, I’ve read 50 books so far this year, 5 of which (10%) were e-books. Mind you, as novels become bigger (I’m looking at you, John Grisham), I’m thinking of reading more e-books to relieve the strain on my handbags and shoulders.

    What about you? What’s your split between paperbacks and e-books?


    1. Hmm, I hadn’t thought of adding my own stats, but good point.

      I’ve read 73 books so far (I’ll miss my goal of 100, damn) and 12 (16%) were paper, 9 (12%) were audio, and 50 (68%) were e-books.


      1. You might have missed your 100 book goal, Tyson, but that’s pretty impressive. What determines whether to read as paperback or e-book for you: cost, convenience, or like me, sparing your shoulders?


      2. Convenience. I don’t get to go to a bookstore, so easier to buy online. I tend to buy the paper version for my favourite authors. Audio is purely for the car or working out. My shoulders are strong enough to handle most books, but my Kindle has more books on it than I could possibly lift in paper.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s