How Much Do Americans Read?

How Much Do Americans Read?

New research from Pew Internet says that ebook readership is up, and overall we own more tablets and ereaders. That’s not all that surprising, really. Still, here’s a look at how America reads.

According to data gathered from more than 2000 participants in the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, the number of people who read ebooks increased to 23 per cent of Americans 16 and older, from 16 per cent last year. That’s a big jump statistically, and coincides with the number of people who own a tablet or ereader going from 18 per cent to 33 per cent. And tablet owners actually passed ereader owners this year too, which makes sense given ereaders had a few-year head start, and this is the year inexpensive tablets actually got good with the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD.

The study also said that 75 per cent of Americans have read a book in the past year, which seems, weirdly, both surprisingly high and surprisingly low at the same time (the number was 78 per cent for 2011). Here’s how that breaks down by number of books:

7% of Americans ages 16 and older read one book in the previous 12 months

14% had read 2-3 books in that time block

12% had read 4-5 books in that time block

15% had read 6-10 books in that time block

13% had read 11-20 books in that time block

14% had read 21 or more books in that time block

Hey now! Literate Muricans! The one sad thing in all this is that printed books continue to fall. They went from being read by 72 per cent of Americans to 67 per cent this year. And unlike the drop from 78 per cent to 75 for overall readership, Pew finds that statistically significant. So! Great year for ebooks, really great year for tablets, and one more depressing rung down for paper books. [Pew]