According to a survey by The Harris Poll conducted back in July 2011 one in six (15%) of Americans now choose to use an e-Reader device.  This is nearly double the response from last year which showed less than one in ten, or 8%, used one.

The survey also found that one in six of those who do not own an e-Reader currently will most likely get one before the end of the year.

Two areas of the country with the most respondents who use an e-Reader are the East (19%) and the West (20%) with the Midwest at 9% and the South at 14%. 

While some may lament the introduction of the e-Reader as a death knell for books, the opposite is probably true. First, those who have e-Readers do, in fact, read more. Overall, 16% of Americans read between 11 and 20 books a year with one in five reading 21 or more books in a year (20%). But, among those who have an e-Reader, one-third read 11-20 books a year (32%) and over one-quarter read 21 or more books in an average year (27%).

E-Reader users are also more likely to buy books. One-third of Americans (32%) say they have not purchased any books in the past year compared to only 6% of e-Reader users who say the same. One in ten Americans purchased between 11 and 20 books (10%) or 21 or more books (9%) in the past year. Again, e-Reader users are more likely to have bought, or downloaded books, as 17% purchased between 11 and 20 and 17% purchased 21 or more books in the past year.

Change in reading habits

One of the criticisms of e-Readers is that people who have them may download more books than they would traditionally purchase, but read at the same levels. So far this criticism is not holding true at all. Half of both e-Reader users (50% and non-users (51%) say they read the same amount as they did six months ago. However, while one-quarter of non e-Reader users (24%) say they are reading less than they did before (compared to just 8% of e-Reader users), over one-third of e-Reader users (36%) say they are reading more compared to just 16% of non-users.

Favorite Genre

Regardless of how they are reading it, there are types of books people like to read. Among those who say they read at least one book in an average year, three-quarters say they read both fiction (76%) and non-fiction (76%) but certain types of books rise to the top in both categories. Among fiction categories, almost half of readers say they read mystery, thriller and crime books (47%), while one-quarter read science fiction (25%), literature (23%) and romance (23%). One in ten read graphic novels (10%) while 8% read "chick-lit" and 5% read Westerns. Among non-fiction categories, almost three in ten readers say they read biographies (29%) while one-quarter read history (27%) and religious and spirituality books (24%). Just under one in five readers (18%) read self-help books, while 13% read true crime, 12% read current affairs, 11% read political books and 10% read business books.

Source: PR Newswire