by KYW’s Dr. Marciene Mattleman
The first consumer e-books in the 90s didn’t seem to catch on among those already reading on computer screens and cell phones. But, popularity has spread; 52% of buyers are men and 48% are women, a reversal of print books where women buy more.
A study reported in The Wall Street Journal of responses of 1200 e-reader owners—Amazon’s Kindle, Apple’s iPad and the Sony Reader– found that 40% reported reading more books than they did with print books—58% read “as much” and 2% read less.
It’s not that e-books are replacing the old book habits, but adding to them. On Amazon, the largest seller of e-books, customers are buying 3.3 times as many books after buying the Kindle. Libraries are offering services so that patrons can virtually “check out” adult fiction; 66% offer e-books—the most popular being The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Despite the reality that libraries have suffered budget cuts reducing services, Siobhan Reardon, director of the Free Library of Philadelphia, reports that use of the Library’s website to download books has increased greatly.