Majority of people who read news now get it on handheld devices

Pew Internet

More than half of Americans who regularly read news get it on handheld digital devices, according to new research. The Pew Internet & American Life Project found 54 percent of news-reading adults turn to cell phones, tablets or e-readers (question 23). There's good news for writers: "41% of tablet owners and 35% of e-reader owners said they were reading more since the advent of e-content."

The main focus of the Pew survey was on e-books and how Americans are embracing them. A few interesting facts:

  • One-fifth read e-books. 21 percent of all American adults said they had read an e-book in the past year.
  • The prototypical e-reading person. The most-typical e-reader owner is a woman, 30 to 49 years old, who graduated from college and has a household income exceeding $75,000.
  • E-book readers pay. Only 48 percent of people had purchased the most recent printed book they read; the majority had borrowed it or acquired it some other way. But a higher number, 64 percent, had paid for their most recent e-book.
  • Pros and cons. Readers prefer e-books over print books because of efficient purchasing, ease of use while traveling and having a wide selection. But they prefer print books for reading with a child and for the ability to share them with others.

Related: Four more takeaways from the Pew study (paidContent) |Clay Shirky on the future of e-books and social reading ( | Morgan Guenther on the future of magazines on tablets (Wired) || Earlier: Direct publishing of e-books offers hope for long-form journalists (Poynter) In the year of the e-book, 5 lessons for news organizations (Poynter).

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    Jeff Sonderman

    Jeff Sonderman is the deputy director of the American Press Institute, helping to lead its use of research, tools, events, and strategic insights to advance and sustain journalism.


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