Technology has revolutionized the art of doing business and now it is changing how people read. Statistics from a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2011 and 2012 indicate shows that, 21 percent or 1 out of 5 Americans have read e-content in the past one year. This number went up following a gift-giving season that saw a rise in the ownership of e-reading devices such as Nooks and Kindles. In December 2011, about 17 percent claimed to have read an e-book. By February of the following year, the number went up to 21 percent. So, is technology replacing the reading resources?
The debate of whether e-content is replacing printed content has been going on for years with no clear consensus in sight. In spite of the raging debate, one thing is clear, more people are reading electronic content compared to print.
So, what is contributing to the increase in e-reading? Why is the electronic content catching up with print so fast?
Shift in reading culture
The rise of e-reading in the US is part of a larger story indicating a major shift from printed material to digital content. In a broader survey conducted in December 2011 on e-content, 43 percent of Americans aged 16 and above reported to have read some e-content such as journals, magazines and news articles on e-book reader, tablet or cell phone.
Those who reported reading e-content also stood out in almost every other aspect from other readers. First, these are avid readers of books in all formats. Basically, 88 percent of people who read e-content in the past 1 year also read printed books. They read more books compared to other readers for various reasons including research, pleasure, for school or work.
Ease of access
E-reading takes place across a wide variety of devices such as smartphones, tablets or cell phones. The ability to access content on various devices encourages more people to consume e-content compared to printed material.
While the debate of electronic versus print content was raging, millions of e-content consumers realized a simple fact: e-content does not weigh anything or take up the space required by printed material. These books are not only portable, but also customizable and come with a wide variety of internet-connected features.
Unlike conventional books, you can now borrow from e-lending libraries such as Oyster without getting too worried about return dates. In addition, e-libraries give readers an array of endless titles to choose from.
Most book readers would rather buy than borrow. In the study conducted in 2011, 61 percent of e-book readers preferred to buy their own copies compared to 54 percent of print readers. The study also found that people who own e-reading devices are more likely to purchase compared to others. E-content readers claimed that it was easier and cheaper to buy electronic resources from online bookstores compared to buying from a conventional bookstore.
Ultimately, is technology replacing the reading resources? Here, the answer seems to be a resounding “yes”. However, before you rule out printed material, the study also indicated that the “real” book as most physical book lovers call print content is here to stay.