Amazing New Statistics about the Kindle

What just happened? The number of people who own an e-reader nearly doubled — in less than four weeks! That’s according to a new study from the well-respected analysts at Pew Research Center. And they’re concluding that now one in five Americans own a Kindle (or another digital reader)!

According to their just-released survey results, between mid-December and early January, the number of people who own a Kindle (or a Nook, or another digital reading device) jumped from 10% to 19%. It’s especially amazing because there’d been almost no new purchasers during the previous six months, according to their research. “These findings are striking because they come after a period from mid-2011 into the autumn in which there was not much change in the ownership of tablets and e-book readers…as the holiday gift-giving season approached, the marketplace for both devices dramatically shifted.”

I love these studies, because they provide hard data about who owns Kindles, with a chart showing a demographic breakdown. For example, 30% of college graduates now own a Kindle, a Nook, or some
other digital reader. (And 31% of people earning more than $75,000 a year!) They’re the two fastest-growing groups in the study, since just last month, only 16% of college graduates owned a Kindle (and 21% of people earning more than $75,000 a year.) If this study is correct, 14% of America’s college graduates got a digital reader within the last month — and 10% of the people earning over $75,000 a year!

The statistics are nearly identical when you ask who owns a tablet computer like the iPad or Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablets: the percentage also jumped from 10% to 19%. In fact, 31% of college graduates now own a tablet computer, according to the study — and 36% of people with an income over $75,000 a year. (That’s 14% more — for both demographics — than it was just in mid-December!) And if you ask about both devices, asking if people own at least one digital reader or one tablet computer, the numbers are even higher. In December it was 18%, but by January, it had risen to 29%!

Women are now also more likely to own a Kindle (or another digital reader) than men. Back in November of 2010, it was an even split — 6% of the women in America owned a digital reader, and so did 6% of the men. By this December, it had risen to 11% of the women vs. 9% of the men — and after Christmas, the number of women who owned a reader had nearly doubled, to 21%, while the number of men rose only to 16%.

Click here to see the study’s chart showing “the big jump in gadget ownership over the holidays.” They estimate that their survey has a margin of error of just 2%, since they phoned nearly 3,000 people to compile each set of results. The research is supported by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, “to look at how these devices are affecting people’s relationship with their local libraries, the services those libraries offer, and the general role of libraries in communities.”

And in a few weeks, the researchers will reveal more interesting data from their survey participants — about “reading habits and their interactions with their libraries related to e-books and other digital content!”

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