Consider: the tablet as a consumer product was relaunched and popularized by Apple and the iPad in April of 2010. A little over two and a half years later, the Pew Internet and American Life survey found that one in four respondents claimed to own a tablet. That’s an unbelievably fast adoption rate, and one that’s certainly not going to slow down anytime soon, excepting extraordinary circumstances. E-reader ownership was found to be 19 percent, while one-third of all survey participants owned at least one of the two devices.
What does all that mean? One thing the survey found was that, slowly, reading of physical books really is decreasing as use of tablets and e-reader increases. The effect isn’t too pronounced yet – 23 percent said they used tablets or e-readers to read books, compared to 67 percent saying they read physical books (and there’s definitely some overlap between those two categories).
The director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, Lee Rainey, suggested that the number of people reading on electronic devices will increase rapidly as tablets and e-readers continue to become more affordable, lowering the barrier of entry for lower income families.
Fewer people using physical books is going to be a contentious topic, but it’s worth noting that the net result might be a positive. 30 percent of those using electronic devices to read say they read more now than before they owned those devices. It’s little wonder – make something easier and more convenient to do, and more people are going to do it. Electronic devices make your reading content lighter, makes more reading content available in one place, and allows you to do other things besides read. Sounds encouraging to me.