More Consumers Curling Up with Tablets than E-Readers


E-book consumers are more often choosing tablets, while e-readers drop in popularity, according to a book industry group survey.



It’s not just what people are reading—it’s how they’re reading. Over the course of just six months, consumers’ top choice for dedicated e-readers such as Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s NOOK slipped, from 72% to 58%. Tablet devices are now the most preferred reading device for more than 24% of e-book buyers, up from fewer than 13% in August 2011, according to the Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading, a survey by the Book Industry Study Group.

And the rise in tablet preference is not primarily for the iPad (which rose by just over 1%), but for other tablets—overwhelmingly for Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s NOOK tablet. Sales of non-Apple devices went up, from 5% to 14%, over the same period.

The study shows the buoyancy of the book market.  Nearly 30% of respondents in the February survey reported an increase in dollars spent on books in all formats since they began acquiring e-books, while nearly 50% reported an overall rise in titles purchased in any format. The numbers are even rosier for e-books: more than 62% of respondents reported an uptick in dollars spent on e-books, and more than 72% said they have increased the volume of e-titles they are buying. Some publishers are reporting that even when overall revenue has slipped, profitability—particularly for e-books—has risen.

The Book Industry Study Group’s survey was conducted by Bowker Market Research, which polled 1,000 e-book readers about their attitudes toward e-books and e-reading in February. Study results are based on a nationally representative panel of book consumers (men, women, and teens) who had either purchased a digital book or e-book or owned a dedicated e-reader device (such as Kindle, NOOK or Sony Reader.