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Tuesday June 28, 2011 4:36 pm

E-readers are beating tablets in US adoption


Posted by Andru Edwards - Categories: Apple, Handhelds


Nook ereader

The increase in U.S. adults who own e-readers is outpacing the growth of tablet owners, according to a new phone survey by the Pew Internet Project.

Adults who owned ereaders like Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook doubled from 6 percent of the U.S. adult population in November 2010 to 12 percent in May 2011, according to the survey of 2,277 respondents aged 18 and over. The survey was conducted in both English and Spanish.

Over the same period, the share of adults who said they owned a tablet such as Apple's iPad grew as well, but by just 3 percentage points. About 5 percent of respondents in an earlier Pew survey from November of last year said they owned a tablet, while 8 percent said they did in the most recent one, conducted between April 26 and May 22.


Growth in tablet ownership seemed to be tailing off in the first five months of 2011, according to the research firm. About 7 percent of respondents to a January survey said they owned a tablet, meaning the increase in ownership between then and May was just a single percentage point, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

There was a healthy overlap in ereader and tablet ownership, according to Pew. Some 3 percent of adults said they owned both devices, while 9 percent owned just and ereader and 5 percent said they only had a tablet.

While ereaders and tablets have both shown better or comparable growth in recent months as measured against many other sorts of consumer electronics devices and personal computers, in terms of market penetration, the two devices have a ways to go before they catch up with cellphones, laptops, and the like.

By way of comparison, some 83 percent of respondents to Pew's most recent survey said they owned a cellphone (Pew doesn't appear to have broken out smartphones in its findings). Desktop PC ownership (57 percent) still trumps laptop ownership (56 percent), but just by a whisker, and well within the margin of error.

That's a far cry from Pew's earlier findings. In the November 2010 survey, desktop ownership was at 61 percent as compared with 53 percent ownership for laptops. Pew further reported that laptops have passed desktops in popularity with respondents under the age of 30, "and appear poised to do the same among older adults."

Meanwhile, 52 percent of surveyed adults said they own a DVR, and 44 percent said they had an MP3 player.

This article, written by Damon Poeter, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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