What’s the most popular way to read an e-book? Not what you think. According to a recent Forrester survey, Wired reports, for e-reading the Kindle actually comes in slightly behind laptop computers as consumers’ e-book reading platform of choice. More than 1/3 of those surveyed preferred laptops.

Laptops only slightly trump the Kindle, 35 percent to 32 percent. Coming in third was the iPhone, with 15 percent, followed by a Sony e-reader (12 percent), netbooks (10 percent) and the Barnes & Noble Nook (9 percent). Also at 9 percent was the iPad.

Only 7% of online U.S. adults currently read e-books, the survey states, though 8% expect to in a year.

Forrester’s results also suggest good news for the Kindle as the e-book business grows.

“Sure, other eReaders have been introduced that are intriguing, but Amazon has a secret weapon: an existing relationship with a large share of all book buyers,” Forrester said. “Four in 10 people who own or expect to buy an eReader shop at Amazon for physical books. Exactly 50% of people who bought an eBook in the past month have bought eBooks from Amazon’s Kindle store.”

Forrester has just published a five-year forecast for e-book buying, though at $499 it’s a bit pricey for the average consumer to read.

PaidContent has a piece by Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey going into further detail about some of its implications. Total e-book revenues for 2010 will not quite reach one billion dollars, but Forrester expects yearly e-book sales to triple to $2.8 billion by 2015, and to become half of all books that e-book readers buy.


  1. “Prefer” laptops is perhaps misleading. “Own” laptops might be closer to the point, unless the people surveyed owned one of each listed device and were asked to rank them. For myself I *used to use* a laptop for e-reading, but far *prefer* a dedicated device.

    That aside, no real surprises in the numbers.

  2. Can we question other peoples’ “preference?” If they say they prefer using laptops, I’d take them at their word. True, it wouldn’t hurt to know whether they’d actually tried some dedicated reader or other device. But in fact, there’s nothing wrong with reading on a laptop… especially considering most of them give you the option of reading any format that exists, something any single dedicated reader can’t do.

  3. I agree with Peter. The Wired article also makes a brief reference to it. This is not a question of preference at all, simply a statement about what devices people are using to read e-books. It may be people not wanting to purchase an additional device or it could be finances which keep people from buying a dedicated device. I don’t know of anyone who has an e-ink device, iPad or other tablet that prefers reading on a laptop.

  4. There’s a lot of people that don’t yet own a dedicated electronic reader but still have to read electronic books for work. When all your reference books are PDF your laptop is probably your primary e-book reader. It’s not surprising just misleading the way Wired has spun it. I’ve taken surveys on electronic book reading where they ask to list all the devices where you read e-books. If they ask which I use the most hours in a day (which they haven’t) I would have to answer my laptop but it’s certainly not because I prefer it.

  5. I used to drive a 1993 Ford Topaz. This doesn’t in any way reflect my preference in cars -I’d have much preferred a Rolls Royce or a Jaguar – only what I had in my driveway. Extrapolating preference from possession is tricky.

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