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On e-Reader Tech News we track down the latest e-Reader news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great e-reader tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest devices and accessories.

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January 2018
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Did the Kindle Start a Trend Toward Paperless Living?

A recent survey put out by Gartner looked at portable device usage among five hundred or so participants to see how things like tablet computing were changing the way we live.  One of the more notable results that they came up with was an indication that over 50% of those involved said that they prefer reading on a screen to reading on paper.  This includes newspapers, magazines, and books.

They didn’t specify whether or not the participants logged any of this data based on using a Kindle or other dedicated eReading device, but that matters surprisingly little in this case.  The reading experience on portable devices is becoming comparable to, and sometimes superior to, that of reading on paper.  Who would have thought?

It would be somewhat foolish to claim that this was the result of the Kindle’s impact of consumer impressions.  We’ve been heading toward digital text distribution since the first computers were capable of storing enough text to be useful.  It was only a matter of time for it to reach the reading public.  It was what the Kindle signaled that accelerated the transition.

Sony already had a better eReader on the market when Amazon released the first Kindle.  What they didn’t have was the Kindle Store.  Amazon made it easy for their customers to buy popular books.  They even went the extra mile and made sure that purchasing could be accomplished right from the device itself.  With no more need to find USB cables or memory cards, eReading was finally more convenient than picking up a book from the store.  It was sometimes even easier that picking up a book off the shelf.

Over time, adding devices as they went, Amazon brought their selection to practically any device with a screen.  The Kindle itself was and is still important for many people, but just about anybody who is interested will always have a device within arm’s reach that can load a book for them now.  Convenience has reached an extreme.

Convenience is what the Gartner survey attributes the move away from paper to.  Their participants indicated that they were willing to pick up whichever device lay closest to hand for practically any reading situation, even to the point of excluding print at times.  Since all participants were required to have a media tablet and at least two other similar devices, being out of touch would have been a stretch.

None of this says that the printed book is really going to disappear.  We know that won’t happen any time soon, despite the fact that the death of print has been declared regularly since at least 1984 (extra points for catching the obvious movie reference).  What this means is that print is likely to lose its primary position in the reading world, even for magazine and newspaper readers, before too much time is up.  Tablets used to be toys, now they are becoming household tools.  Prices are dropping, exposure to options like the $79 Kindle is up, and it seems like every day readers get more to choose from.  Publishers can’t even entertain the notion of maintaining their old model unaffected at this point.

Kindle Use Up and Still Rising, Pew Study Finds

The Pew Internet and American Life Project has recently published a study about the current trend in electronic reading.  Their findings signal impressive gains for the Kindle and eReading in general over the past year.  It can now be said with some degree of reliability that at least one in five Americans have read a book on a device designed for reading in the past year and nearly 30% of American adults now own an electronic reading device.

There is reason to be excited about this if you’re a fan of the Kindle, but the results should also be taken with a bit of caution.  For example, the definition of “device designed for reading” includes tablets like the iPad.  If all we’re concerned about is eBooks getting read, then that makes no difference whatsoever.  When we look at ownership levels, however, including the iPad or Kindle Fire will necessarily boost the numbers by including people who have no interest in reading on their multi-function tablet.

If we do look at eBook consumption alone, regardless of the device, the numbers are even better.  Pew indicates that 43% of Americans 16 and older have read an either an eBook or some other long-form publication in the past year.  This includes consumption via PC, Tablet, eReader, Cell phone, and anything else with a screen that might have been handy.

Kindle users are also more likely to purchase their books than those sticking to paper.  The report indicates that readers of electronic books are far more likely to buy than borrow, even when libraries are now available, and are generally more likely to say that they prefer book ownership as a rule.

These readers are more likely than their paper-loving counterparts to have read extensively over the past year as well.  Readers who take advantage of options like the Kindle report an average of 24 books read per year compared to the 15 of those who don’t engage with electronic texts.  This may be specific to eReaders like the Kindle, since the report also indicates that a similar disparity did not show up when comparing tablet user reading habits to non-eReader reading.

This is not the end of the printed word, of course.  Print books still account for the overwhelming majority of reading material being consumed.  There have been large enough spikes in Kindle use lately to indicate the comparison might be more equal soon, but print still has its place.  While most people who use eReaders reported that they prefer eBooks for a variety of reasons, print was still the desired format when talking about children’s books and book lending.  The latter point is especially obvious since publishers have forced lending restrictions onto eBooks, but it is a factor nonetheless.

The thing that best sums this up is probably the demographics.  While not specific to the Kindle, eReading was measured as fairly even across the board.  Men and women are roughly equally likely to have read something electronically.  All income groups show at least 20% to the same question.  The only real areas lagging behind in adoption are among those with a high school level education or below and readers over age 65.  Even in those groups the numbers are higher than ever before, which Pew attributes to the low price of the now <$80 Kindle.