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How Much Do Americans Read? (And How Much of That is with eBooks?)

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New research from Pew Internet says that ebook readership is up (duh), 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 2,000 participants in the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, the number of people who read ebooks increased to 23 percent of Americans 16 and older, from 16 percent last year. That's a big jump statistically, and coincides with the number of people who own a tablet or ereader going from 18 percent to 33 percent. 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 percent 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 percent 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 percent of Americans to 67 percent this year. And unlike the drop from 78 percent 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]