Report: Tablet, E-book Reader Ownership Nearly Doubles Over Holidays

Good news for digital publishers: The number of Americans who own tablet computers and e-book readers nearly doubled over the holiday season, according to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Between mid-December and early January, the share of American adults who own a tablet computer jumped from 10 percent to 19 percent. Ownership of E-book readers among adults also jumped from 10 percent to 19 percent. The number of Americans owning at least one of these devices jumped from 18 percent in December to 29 percent in January, the report said.

“These findings are striking because they come after a period from mid-2011 into the autumn in which there was not much change in the ownership of tablets and e-book readers,” wrote the author of the report, Lee Rainie.

Rainie attributed part of this surge in sales to a more competitively-priced marketplace, especially on the e-book reader side. They noted that many of these devices, like the original Amazon Kindle, now cost under $100.

(Pew Internet & American Life Project)

This is nothing less than fantastic news for news organizations and book publishers. A massive surge in audience size like this means a major opportunity for increased revenue from digital subscriptions and e-books.

One question emerges from this report: What will happen to the tablet computer numbers if that sector gets more competitive pricing. Right now, it’s a market that is dominated by the iPad, but with some worthy competitors (the Kindle Fire and the Samsung Galaxy Tablet to name two). Will more competitive pricing arrive for tablets and grow that audience even further?

The pre-holiday survey was conducted among 2,986 people and has a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points. Two post-holiday surveys was conducted: One among 1,000 adults and another among 1,008 adults. The combined margin of error is  +/- 2.4 percentage points.