Just because more and more people are reading e-books doesn’t mean they’ve stopped reading physical books. That’s according to the latest post-holiday study done by the Pew Research Center.
According to Publishers Weekly, most people who read e-books read print books as well. Only 4% of readers consider themselves to be “e-book only.” The study also found that people are reading more in general. American adults are averaging about 5 books per year, a slight increase from the study done at the end of 2012.
The study found that about half of Americans now own either a tablet or e-reader. This is a likely explanation for why there are also more people reading across multiple formats — like print, digital and audio, as Andrew Albanese explains.
87% of e-book readers also read a print book in the past 12 months, and 29% listened to an audiobook.
84% of audiobook listeners also read a print book in the past year, and 56% also read an e-book.
A majority of print readers read only in that format, although 35% of print book readers also read an e-book and 17% listened to an audiobook.
Overall, about half (52%) of readers only read a print book, while just 4% said they only read an e-book, and just 2% only listened to an audiobook. Some 9% of readers said they read books in all three formats.
As an avid reader, I certainly read across all platforms. I read physical books, Nook books, and listen to audiobooks. I have some friends who prefer reading through the Kindle app on their phone, others who use their tablets. Reading books takes all different forms these days. But hey — at least we’re reading.
E-books have certainly broken into the publishing industry with force, but really, what else do they have to offer other than being more portable than physical books? That’s what some publishers are beginning to ask themselves.
That’s also why, according to The New York Times, some are trying to push the platform forward with serialized e-books — digital books that come out in small increments on a regular basis, like a TV show. Publishers and authors hope this will help to make the books more interactive and attractive to readers, as Julie Bosman explains.
One of the most talked-about new experiments is taking serialized fiction a step further. […] it is a novel called “The Silent History” that is available on the AppleiPhone and its iPad. It includes interactive, user-generated elements. The app itself is free, but readers pay for the book’s content, which arrives in daily installments of about 15 minutes’ worth of reading. […] They wrote a 160,000-word book and, using the iPhone for inspiration, created a “scavenger hunt” element allowing readers to see more story lines by visiting specific locations — like China and Washington, D.C. — that are outlines on a map within the app. Users can also add their own story lines.
This all sounds like a good idea in theory, but as the article mentions, enhanced e-books with audio and video features haven’t had much success.
On a personal note, I have friends that get so frustrated with their e-readers, they’ve given up on trying to download books to it altogether. I can’t imagine they’d want to download small portions of books every week or participate in scavenger hunts. In my opinion, if you want to read a book, you just read it. No fuss. Thoughts?