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

    NEW YORK, N.Y. – September 19, 2011 – 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.

    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 eReader, 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.