The ABCs of E-Reading

People who buy e-readers tend to spend more time than ever with their nose in a book, preliminary research shows.

A study of 1,200 e-reader owners by Marketing and Research Resources Inc. found that 40 percent said they now read more than they did with print books. Of those surveyed, 58 percent said they read about the same as before while two percent said they read less than before. And 55 percent of the respondents in the May study, paid for by e-reader maker Sony Corp., thought they’d use the device to read even more books in the future. The study looked at owners of three devices: Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN) Kindle, Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) iPad and the Sony (SNE) Reader.

While e-readers are still a niche product just beginning to spread beyond early adopters, these new reading experiences are a big departure from the direction U.S. reading habits have been heading. A 2007 study by the National Endowment for the Arts caused a furor when it reported Americans are spending less time reading books. About half of all Americans ages 18 to 24 read no books for pleasure, it found.

Some 11 million Americans are expected to own at least one digital reading gadget by the end of September, estimates Forrester Research. U.S. e-book sales grew 183 percent in the first half of this year compared with the year-earlier period, according to the Association of American Publishers.

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