After a busy day of work and parenting, a lot of people like to end the night cozied up with a good book. Well, maybe not “cozied,” since recent research shows a lot more of us are choosing the cool glow of e-readers and tablets over the familiar warmth of paper books. And when I say “us,” of course, I really mean “you,” or perhaps “other people not like us old-school fogies with our quaint affinity for ‘pages’ and ‘bookmarks’/you’ll have to pry this printed book from my cold dead hands/etc.” We paper-book types are not yet a dying breed, but studies show we may be headed that way.
A survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project shows use of e-readers and tablets rose in 2012 (up to 33 percent, compared to 18 percent in 2011) and that the percentage of those who read printed books dropped (to 67 percent from 72 percent) in the same period of time. Now, the e-reader numbers obviously grew in part because more people are acquiring e-readers who didn’t have them before, but the fact that readers of paper books dropped during this same time shows that in some cases e-readers are becoming a replacement for the real thing. Gasp.
Skipping over the minor details that (a) I work in book publishing and (b) because I read books for a living–and mostly on a screen–chances are slim I’ll be getting an e-reader during this lifetime, I’m curious to hear some real-life data. Do you read e-books? (The study shows tablets are now more popular than e-readers; do you have a preference?) Are e-books replacing *gasp* printed books in your life? I’ve heard e-books are cheaper, easier to get, easier to travel with, and somehow faster to read (wha?), and although I will swear on my forty-pound abridged OED that comes in a box with a little drawer for its own magnifying glass that I’ll never make the switch, I’m…intrigued.
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