O’Reilly TOC general manager and occasional TeleRead contributor Joe Wilkert has a piece up on O’Reilly Radar looking at a survey O’Reilly recently conducted of its e-book customers, asking on what devices and in which formats they planned to do most of their e-book reading.
Wilkert reports that the most popular non-PC e-reading device, with a 25% share, was the iPad—but 46% of those who responded said that their primary device for viewing O’Reilly e-books was their PC, and about half of the people who responded said PDF was their format of choice.
When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. Again, our audience is largely IT practitioners, coding or solving other problems in front of their laptops/desktops, so they like having the content on that same screen. And just about everyone has Adobe Acrobat on their computer, so the PDF format is immediately readable on most of the laptops/desktops our customers touch.
He also points out that O’Reilly was able to gather this data because it runs its own digital sales channel through which its e-books are sold. When you rely on an intermediary like Amazon to do it for you, you lose both control over the process and the kind of direct access that makes this sort of survey possible.
I’m still not fond of PDF as a format for e-books, but this survey certainly shows that, among a particular crowd with specific needs, the format definitely still has its place.