Owners of e-readers and tablets buy more books than average Americans. This and other unique usages make digital bookworms a valuable consumer category to market to.

Digital bookworms buy more books than other readers

As the number of tablet owners and e-reader owners rise, further usage patterns become actionable by content creators and marketers. A Pew Research Center’s study entitled “The Rise of E-Reading” shows that Americans aged 16 and up who own these media-optimized devices read more books than those who do not. The Pew Research study shows that on average, e-book reading device owners read more than the general public. While 45% of general book readers say they are reading a book on any given day, 56% of e-book reading device owners do. Out of these 56%, the majority (63%) is reading a printed book, and 42% are reading an e-book.

E-readers consume and buy e-content accross multiple devices

As of mid-January 2012, 19 percent of respondents own tablet devices and 19 percent own e-readers, the dominant device of each category being the iPad and the Kindle. But while one usually think of tablets as the ultimate e-reading device, the study shows that digital bookworms actually like reading accross multiple devices. 42% of respondents declared reading e-books on their laptop, 41% on an e-book reader (like the Kindle), 29% consume books on their smartphone, and 23% read books on a tablet. Interestingly, e-book readers who own an e-reading device are also more likely to purchase books than the general book reading public, and prefer buying rather than borrowing books no matter the format, whether it is print, audio or digital books.

But e-content availability remains an obstacle for further adoption

This multi-platform consumption of e-content is a revenue opportunity for most stakeholders – magazines, journals, or news articles, periodicals and their advertisers – especially since the demographics of e-readers is very trackable. But it also comes with its share of hitches, among which, the need for e-content to be available in multiple formats, on different devices and platforms. Out of the 43% of Americans who read e-books or other long-format digital content on similar devices in the past year, only 20% said the “material they want is always available in the format they want.” 50% said it is available “most of the time” in the right format, 17% “only sometimes” and 4% say it is “never available.” 

By Alice Gillet
English editorial manager