September 16, 2021

Data: Pew Releases Survey Findings on Book Reading by U.S. Adults, Print Books Continue to Dominate

The new survey findings were published today a report titled, Book Reading 2016.

From Pew Research:

…a Pew Research Center survey finds that the share of Americans who have read a book in the last 12 months (73%) has remained largely unchanged since 2012. And when people reach for a book, it is much more likely to be a traditional print book than a digital product. Fully 65% of Americans have read a print book in the last year, more than double the share that has read an e-book (28%) and more than four times the share that has consumed book content via audio book (14%).

Print books continue to be more popular than e-books or audio books

But while print remains at the center of the book-reading landscape as a whole, there has been a distinct shift in the e-book landscape over the last five years. Americans increasingly turn to multipurpose devices such as smartphones and tablet computers – rather than dedicated e-readers – when they engage with e-book content. The share of e-book readers on tablets has more than tripled since 2011 and the number of readers on phones has more than doubled over that time, while the share reading on e-book reading devices has not changed. And smartphones are playing an especially prominent role in the e-reading habits of certain demographic groups, such as non-whites and those who have not attended college.

These are among the main findings of a nationally representative telephone survey of 1,520 American adults conducted March 7-April 4, 2016.

Some Key Findings From the Report

  • The share of Americans who have read a book in the last year is largely unchanged since 2012; more Americans read print books than either read e-books or listen to audio books
  • Nearly four-in-ten Americans read print books exclusively; just 6% are digital-only book readers

Just 6% of Americans are digital-only book consumers

  • College graduates are roughly four times as likely to read e-books ­ and about twice as likely to read print books and audio books – compared with those who have not graduated high school
  • The share of Americans who read books on tablets or cellphones has increased substantially since 2011, while the share using dedicated e-readers has remained stable
  • About one-in-five Americans under the age of 50 have used a cellphone to read e-books; blacks and Americans who have not attended college are especially likely to turn to cellphone – rather than other digital devices – when reading e-books
  • The share of Americans who read in order to research a specific topic of interest has increased in recent years
  • Older and younger adults are equally likely to read for pleasure or to keep up with current events; younger adults are more likely to read for work or school, or to research a topic of interest

Resources

Direct to Full Text Report (Incl. Charts and Data Tables)

Direct to PDF Version of Report (20 pages)

Direct to Additional Demographic Data

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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