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Report: E-Book Use Rises, but Print Still Popular

A Pew Research Center study found although e-books are rising in popularity, print remains the foundation of Americans’ reading habits.

A Pew Research Center study found although e-books are rising in popularity, print remains the foundation of Americans’ reading habits.

A new study from the Pew Research Center indicates readers prefer both print and electronic books. Some 76 percent of adults (age 18 and older) said they read at least one book in the last year.

Of the 1,000 American adults surveyed, about seven in 10 reported reading a book in print, up four percentage points over the previous year's survey. In almost every demographic, Pew found that e-books are being read more than ever. The use of e-books has risen to 28 percent, up from 23 percent in 2012, and 14 percent of adults listened to an audiobook.

Seventy-three percent of respondents in the 18-29 age range read print books in the last year, but the same demographic is adopting the e-book faster than any other. Often, these people are reading both print and electronic devices.

Though e-books are rising in popularity, print remains the foundation of Americans’ reading habits: Among adults who read at least one book in the past year, just 5 percent said they read an e-book in the last year without also reading a print book.

In general, the vast majority of those who read e-books and audiobooks also read print books. Of the three (over lapping) groups, audiobook listeners have the most diverse reading habits, while relatively fewer print readers consume books in other formats:

  • 87 percent of e-book readers also read a print book in the past 12 months, and 29 percent listened to an audiobook.
  • 84 percent of audiobook listeners also read a print book in the past year, and 56 percent also read an e-book.
  • A majority of print readers read only in that format, although 35 percent of print book readers also read an e-book and 17 percent listened to an audiobook.

Overall, about half (52 percent) of readers only read a print book, 4 percent only read an e-book, and just 2 percent only listened to an audiobook. Nine percent of readers said they read books in all three formats.

For more information, including the full report, visit www.pewinternet.com.