Thursday, June 30, 2011

eReaders: 12% of us have one

Good news from Pew Research Center's survey (run from April 26 to May 22 among 2,277 adults, margin of error = +/- 2%) on e-Reader ownership:

The share of adults in the United States who own an e-book reader doubled to 12% in May, 2011 from 6% in November 2010. E-readers, such as a Kindle or Nook, are portable devices designed to allow readers to download and read books and periodicals. This is the first time since the Pew Internet Project began measuring e-reader use in April 2009 that ownership of this device has reached double digits among U.S. adults.

Tablet computers—portable devices similar to e-readers but designed for more interactive web functions—have not seen the same level of growth in recent months. In May 2011, 8% of adults report owning a tablet computer such as an iPad, Samsung Galaxy or Motorola Xoom. This is roughly the same percentage of adults who reported owning this kind of device in January 2011 (7%), and represents just a 3 percentage-point increase in ownership since November 2010. Prior to that, tablet ownership had been climbing relatively quickly.

As the only purpose of a Kindle or a Nook or Kobo is long-form reading, I find this pretty damn thrilling: people still like to read. A significant chunk of us seem to like it better than doinking around on the intarweb. This is nothing but good news for writers.

Having said that, e-Reader ownership is still far behind other nifty toys:

But please note that desktop and laptop ownership is roughly on a par. We're heading for an untethered world. I know that many people read on their laptop Kindle (and other) apps. I wish Pew had split out the smartphone from dumbphone numbers, so we could take a guess at how many readers also use their Kindle phone apps. (I do, but not often.)

If you're one of those writers dithering over whether or not to put your work up (Smashwords, Amazon, wherever), burn this survey into your brain and then bear in mind there's lots of data to show that Kindle (and other device) owners read more novels than the average reader. This is your audience. Make your work available to them.

Kelley's latest Clarion West write-a-thon piece, "Monkeybar Hope," is up. It's very cool:
Cammy picked Portia because she could hang by her knees from the top of the monkeybars, way up high, and Cammy longed to do it too. She knew it would feel like… well, she didn’t have a word for it yet. She was working on that: she sounded out a new word with her dad every day from the old calendar. He had put in the trash because it was a new year and he didn’t need it anymore, but how could you not need words? [more]

So go read it. It will make you grin. Read the others here. Consider sponsoring Kelley.

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