Pew: 69% of Americans read a print book in 2013, 28% read an e-book, but only 4% went exclusively electronic

Pew: 69% of Americans read a print book in 2013, 28% read an e-book, but only 4% went exclusively electronic ...

During 2013, 69 percent of Americans read a book in printed form, 28 percent read an e-book, and 14 percent listened to an audiobook. While the proportion of Americans who read e-books is growing, few have completely replaced print books for electronic versions.

The latest figures come from Pew‘s ongoing Internet & American Life survey. Here’s the breakdown over the last three years (the “2014” is a typo that should say “2013”):


As you can see, while e-books are becoming more popular, print is still king. Most people who read e-books also read print books, and only 4 percent of readers were “e-book only” in 2013.

As e-books become available on more devices (not just e-readers), their use is expected to continue growing. Americans increasingly own their own e-readers, tablets, and smartphones, all of which e-books can be consumed on.

Audiobook listeners were found to have the most diverse reading habits overall, while fewer print readers consume books in other formats. Overall, 76 percent of adults read a book in some format over the previous 12 months.

The mean number of books read or listened to in the past year was 12 and the median number was five (meaning that half of adults read more than five books and half read fewer). The median is a better measure of what the “typical” American’s reading habits look like since the mean can be skewed by a relatively small number of very avid readers.

Pew’s study was conducted between January 2 and January 5 by surveying 1,005 Americans aged 18 and older. The organization pegs the margin of error at plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. You can read the whole 20-page report here: Pew Research Center (PDF).

See also – Pew: One in three Americans owns a tablet, one in four owns an e-reader, and 43% have one or the other and ABI: Nearly 200m tablets have shipped worldwide since 2009, 22% of US owners spend over $50 monthly

Top Image Credit: Shutterstock/jorisvo

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