simba.jpgThat’s what Simba Information, a market research firm specializing in publishing and media, is reporting. According to their survey of over 1,880 adults, 68% of ebook readers used the PC as the most frequently used device to read books.

“There’s a mistaken belief that consumers are the most interested in dedicated reading devices, but it’s not true,” said Michael Norris, senior analyst of Simba Information, commenting on the report. “Since we know most book consumers only purchase a tiny number of titles in a given year, you could assume a $300 gadget to read a $6 paperback doesn’t make sense to a lot of people. For the second year in a row, we can back that assumption up.”

The PC, as Norris points out, also had a big head start over dedicated devices like Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes & Noble’s nook. The PC is also very common and public transit commuters often have one with them anyway (and may read a book on their computers at the office while pretending to work).

“Dedicated devices have been chipping at the PC’s lead for a while,” added Norris. “For the iPad to get any sort of dominance, it needs to become very popular very fast among the PC crowd and not necessarily the dedicated device crowd.”

Thanks to Michael von Glahn for the link.


  1. I take the subway in New York City every day and I’m not seeing what they are saying. I see very few people reading on a pc, or even working on a pc. What I do see are dedicated e-readers and people either reading, watching video, or playing games, on portable devices

  2. I bought my wife a little Asus netbook yesterday for less than 300 bucks.

    First thing she had me load was the Mobipocket reader and she is happily reading ebooks on the crystal clear little screen.

    She can also connect to Netflix On Demand and watch movies, browse the web with full flash support, play games, open a Word document and do pretty much anything she can do on her desktop PC except play graphics intensive games.

    For half the price of an iPad she got a small but full featured PC. She is happy.

  3. “Since we know most book consumers only purchase a tiny number of titles in a given year, you could assume a $300 gadget to read a $6 paperback doesn’t make sense to a lot of people. For the second year in a row, we can back that assumption up.”

    Or … the writer could examine his/her assumptions. These e-reader “gadgets” can easily be had for $200, not $300; and lots and lots of paperbacks are a good deal more than $6. They are considerably cheaper, lighter and better at delivering “a good read” than a netbook; they are more transportable; and have “insanely great” battery life.

    Of the portion of the population who reads long-form content today, e-readers are a viable option — and sometimes offer an economic advantage.

  4. The other thing this article is forgetting is what devices people already own.

    If one owns a computer or laptop, wants an e-reader, and plans on purchasing an e-reader “some-day,” I can only assume they’re counted as “yet another consumer who only reads on the computer.” Given how few e-readers are out there (as compared with PCs), 68% seems quite low. Furthermore, what was that number last year: 78%, 88%?

    Also not mentioned is the quality of the study. I know nothing about Simba, but the attached article contains incomplete results (the standard way to lie with statistics). You can’t trust sponsored studies unless their complete results are provided.

  5. E readers have numerous benefits but the important one for me is portability. As an aircraft passenger or train passenger a PC is inconvenient and clumsy. A computer is not something I could comfortable read in bed and I can only guess that a great number of people do as a matter of fact read in bed. As apposed to a paper book the one great advantage in an e-book for older eyes is the ability to expand the type, very important to many.

  6. erm. That would explain why the e-book format soared to popularity and became a multimillion dollar industry in 1995. The introduction of the laptop practically guaranteed its success.

    that year monkeys also came flying out of my… Oh nevermind.

    I ride regional transit in the Chicago area. Not that many electronic anchors — I mean, laptops. And those in use are being used for spreadsheets & reports for ‘the man’, movie-watching, and gaming. The only blocks of text I ever see are being written — not read.

    Netbooks might be different. I can imagine that easily. But I see fewer of those than laptops. Maybe most of the laptops are employer-supplied? No idea.

    I’d like to see a study of this based on observation — not self-reporting. I’m sure the results would contain some interesting surprises. I think the study noted above is really ‘not even wrong’.

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