This study and report by Pew Internet says that e-reader ownership has doubled within the last six months, bringing ownership of e-readers up to 12% of all adults in the US.
My local news actually reported this last week. I don’t know if they got their data from this study or elsewhere, but they also said that ownership of e-reading devices was up to 12% of those surveyed.
What I found especially interesting about that news report was that nobody seemed really shocked by it. For a long time, the idea of reading ebooks was scoffed at, and every time I told anybody what I did for work they would respond with something like, “Oh, hmm. I like to read on paper.” Of course, the person had never actually used an ebook or e-reader, so this is like a little kid saying they don’t like kiwi before they’ve even tried it. Nowadays I still get the same response from some people, but in general ebooks have become mainstream enough that they aren’t being treated with as much prejudice.
This Pew article has some other interesting numbers in their demographics study. E-reader ownership is fairly evenly distributed between age brackets, evenly split between male and female, but the higher you go in income or level of school completed, the more e-readers you get. That’s not surprising since this kind of thing falls under the category of disposable income, but I do find it interesting that people of all ages own e-readers.
They also have information on the amount of people who own e-readers as well as tablets, generally indicating that e-readers are more widely owned than tablets at this point. That is to be expected since tablets are a bit newer and more expensive.
I attribute this growth to the excellent marketing that Amazon does of its Kindle, as well as the popularity of the Nook and Kobo e-readers. Even though I don’t agree with the restrictive nature of the Kindle, Amazon made e-readers a household object, and the rest of the market has grown because of that.
This isn’t directly related to ebook software, but it is a followup to my recent post about Sony’s issues with Apple. As you’ll remember, Apple rejected Sony’s eBook App because it does not allow users to purchase ebooks through Apple (which would give Apple 30% of each sale).
Now, it seems that Sony is threatening to pull all of their music from iTunes.
“SONY has signalled it may withdraw its artists from Apple’s iTunes store and withhold its games from the iPhone in a sign the two companies are on the brink of all-out war.”
Sony plans to offer their music in their own system called Music Unlimited instead, which is already available in Europe and will be available in Australia soon. This is significant because Sony is the world’s second-largest record company, representing a large amount of artists, including Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Bob Dylan. If all of Sony’s artists were pulled from iTunes, Apple’s music market would be a very different place.
“The new Sony music service, which opened in Europe last year, will have a library of 6 million tracks and users will be able to stream songs to Sony TVs, PlayStation3 consoles, PSP portable game players and Blu-Ray players.”
Michael Ephraim from Sony was quoted as saying, “Publishers are being held to ransom by Apple and they are looking for other delivery systems, and we are waiting to see what the next three to five years will hold.”
No matter which side you take, this may end up being quite important in the history of online digital content delivery. As far as ebooks go — we are sure to see much of the market go to Android devices in the upcoming few years, and that will already be outside of Apple’s control. Apple may be left with their usual small fanbase for customers, while everyone else uses the more inexpensive options provided by Sony, Google, and Microsoft.