Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Who is Reading What

I had the opportunity last week to attend a presentation by Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.  The Center is in the midst of a 3-year survey about reading and libraries funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and their findings have some thought-provoking implications. Here are a few selected results.  More about the project can be found at

75% of people aged 16+ reported having read at least one book in the past 12 months.  The average number of books read was 10; the median was 7 books.  While consumption of e-books continues to rise over time, as of 2012 only 23% of this population reported having read an e-book while 67% had read at least one book in print.   13% of respondents reported having listened to an audiobook.

Contrary to popular conceptions about young people’s allegiance to their gadgets, three-quarters (75%) of younger Americans say they have read at least one book in print in the past year, compared with 64% of adults ages 30 and older.  

For reading with a child, survey respondents overwhelming prefer print books (81%), while travelers gravitate strongly (73%) towards the convenience of e-books.

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