Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2013 Issue

Printed Books Still the Most Popular, but E-Books Are Gaining Rapidly


Chart shows e-book growth. Courtesy Pew Research.

There is good news and bad news for those who believe that traditional print is the best form for reading books. A recent report from Pew Research revealed that print is still the most popular format for book readers, by a rate of almost 3-1. On the other hand, the popularity of electronic books is growing rapidly, while the number of print readers slowly declines. It may well be an inexorable change, but there is still a long road before printed books go the way of the horse and buggy. Perhaps they never will.

According to Pew, as of November 2012, 67% of Americans age 16 and over read a printed book during the previous 12 months. The number who read an e-book during that period was 23%. Printed books won this contest by a landslide.

Not so fast. The trend is not print's friend. At the end of 2011, the number of people who had read a printed book in the previous year was 72%. That's a decline of 5%. The number who read an e-book during that period was 16%. E-book reading increased by 7%, while the one year swing was 12%. At that rate, e-book reading will overtake printed book reading in four years.

What is even more dramatic is the increase in the number of e-book reading devices. These take two forms. First there is the standard e-book reader, designed especially for books. These include the dominant Kindle from Amazon, and the strong runner-up, Barnes & Noble's Nook. The second type is the tablet computer, such as Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle Fire. As of May 2010, 6% of the population owned at least one of these types. By the end of 2011, the number had risen to 18%. Over the past year, another 15% of the population picked up one of these readers, so that's 33%, or one-third of the population that now possesses an electronic reading device. With the addition of the smaller iPad mini, and several other manufacturers trying to muscle in on Apple with tablet computers of their own, this number can be expected to continue its sharp growth.

Indeed, it may be the tablet computer, which many people buy for more convenient access to the internet, but which also serves as an e-reader, that pushes the transition faster. Two and one-half years ago, according to Pew, 3% of the population owned a tablet computer. A year ago, the number was 10%. Today it is 25%. People who may have been reluctant to pay the money for a dedicated e-book reader can now read electronic books because their tablet computer serves as an e-book reader too. In fact, the percentage of the population owning a tablet computer now exceeds the percentage owning an e-reader, 25% - 19%.

Libraries are starting to get in the act, but far more slowly. Despite the fact that one can commonly borrow an e-book for free from a local library, and may be able to do so from home without darkening the institution's door, most people buy their electronic books. The percentage of library users who borrowed an e-book last year was just 5%, though that is up from 3% the previous year. The number of borrowers is surprisingly small considering 31% of the population now says it is aware that libraries loan e-books.

Overall, the survey found 75% of Americans age 16 and over read a book last year (or listened to an audio book). That was down slightly from last year's 78%. For women, it was 81%, versus 70% for men. The youngest group read the most, the oldest the least. Readership increased with income and amount of education. City folk read a little more than country folk, but used e-readers a lot more. Book readers read an average of 15 books during the year, but that number was inflated by the heaviest readers. The median, or number at which 50% read more and 50% read fewer, was 6 books during the past year.

Posted On: 2013-02-23 00:00
User Name: mottebooks

Two important points:
Ebook sales growth is flattening, and will probably peak at 20% of the market. Latest data is suggesting ebook adoption

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €

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