A report from CTIA shows that the wireless data usage of American consumers tripled from 2013 to 2015. 3.2 trillion total megabytes in 2013; 4.1 trillion in 2014, 9.7 trillion in 2015. That’s more than double the 2014 rate. I’d like to say that shows consumers are downloading and reading more e-books, but the truth is, it probably means exactly the opposite—they’re streaming more music and video, which are extremely data-intensive forms of media compared to the humble textual e-book.

Other tidbits from the survey: for every five people in the USA, there are six wireless devices. Nearly half of all US households are wireless-only, up from less than 10% in 2005. Cell subscribers sent 1.9 trillion text messages in 2015—156.7 billion per month. Cell carriers added 10,000 new antennas this year. And cellular networks are expected to expand exponentially within five years to carry things like 4K video to mobile devices. Small wonder we want free data.

How is the e-book going to stay relevant in a data-intensive world where people download and watch 59,000 videos every minute? Even our mobile devices are now pushing movies on us—in addition to Back to the Future, my Fire’s new “On Deck” system has now downloaded Interstellar, Ex Machina, and Mockingjay for me. Small wonder Amazon’s apparently not so interested in e-ink devices anymore.

But perhaps Amazon doesn’t need to worry about pushing e-books on us. People who already love to read will continue to find reasons to do so, no matter how many movies they tempt us with. Perhaps we should worry more about getting kids interested in reading for themselves.

(Found via InfoDocket.)


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