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Current State of Reading - PEW 2014

 I was just reading the PEW report concerning reading in 2013. With just the base facts: 3 in 10 adults read an ebook; half own a tablet or e-reader; 92% of adults own a cell phone (majority as smart phone); and the typical American (who read a book) read five books over the last year, but that only 4% of readers are digital only.

First and foremost, I'm happy about the five, but only become from other studies I had heard, it was a lower number, so in that way five is a plus, over something like one. In looking closely at the foot notes though I found these two to be interesting.

3-  Though the mean represents the average number of books read, this number can be skewed by a relatively small number of very avid readers; this is why it is so much higher than the median, which shows the midpoint number of books read and therefore is a better measure of what the “typical” American’s reading habits look like.
4-  Among only adults who did read a book in the past year, the mean is 16 books and the median is 7.

These two do provide some interesting aspects when you are examining the data. Consider #4 that "among only adults who did read a book" - that makes me wonder about how many adults "did not read a book" which their report later states as 23%. And #3 does help provide the curve skewed data in that the average and the middle are not the same, and that there is a group of avid readers who can make that shift, which for this study was only identified as those that read more than 20 books in a year. I know that in LibraryThing there is a discussion group/club of people who read over a hundred books a year, they would be in that skewing group. But they would also be representative of people who are purchasing a lot of books, so while they may not be the majority of readers, they would be representative of those that are buying a lot of books. Those are the ones I think about when I read that average reading hasn't changed, but a number of bookstores have closed. I wonder about that 4% - how many are they reading?

Now for more on the ebook side. There usually needs to be some kind of saturation of tool available now that tablets and e-readers are at 50% of people have one or the other, then there is good saturation. Which helps show the growth in reading from such devices has grown since 2011.


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