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More people reading books digitally

Posted: January 21, 2014 3:03 p.m.
Updated: January 21, 2014 3:03 p.m.

A new survey by the Pew Research Center shows that e-reading is on the rise as more people buy e-reader devices.

As of January 2014, 76 percent of Americans aged 18 or older read at least one book in 2013 in some format.

About 69 percent read a book in print while at least 28 percent read an e-book, up from 23 percent a year ago.

According to the survey, while e-readers such as Nook or Kindle have contributed to the rise of in e-reading, a greater number of people use their tablets for e-reading. The study showed that 42 percent of adults own tablets, and 78 percent of them said they use those tablets for reading.

Critics have listed numerous benefits of e-books and e-reading devices as reasons for the rise in e-books, such as lower cost, portability and the capacity to hold multiple books in one device, to name a few.

In the age demographic, adults aged 18-29 showed the highest rate of reading e-books with almost half who responded saying they read e-books.

While reading e-books has grown in popularity, the number of people who read print books has remained steady.

Of all the people who read an e-book in the last year, 87 percent said they also read a print book.

A study by PlayCollective, a children's entertainment research and consulting group, showed similar results among children. According to Digital Book World, which reported on the study, 67 percent of U.S. children aged 2 to 13 read an e-book last year.

The rise in e-books has led publishers to focus more money and attention there than on print books. One such publisher, Simon and Schuster, announced a pilot program Jan. 16 wherein 31 public libraries will have access to many digital books published by the company. Patrons of the library will be able to "check out" e-books for a period of 12 months, or they can buy the books if they so desire.

As publishers move more toward publishing e-books, Joshua Brustein of Businessweek believes the industry will eventually evolve into a subscription-based business like Netflix and Spotify.

Amazon already allows a similar service for Amazon Prime subscribers to use a 350,000-title Kindle lending library, which allows subscribers to borrow a book.
Sam Clemence is an intern for Deseret News where he works with the opinion section staff and as a reporter for the enterprise team.

Copyright 2014 Deseret Digital Media Inc.

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