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Broadband Sparks Summer Reading

07.05.2012

Whether you’re heading off on vacation or simply enjoying downtime at home, summer is a time when many people ramp up their reading.  And with the advent of tablets, e-readers and e-books, broadband is fueling this healthy habit – making it easier than ever to get hooked on books.

First, there’s the reading device itself. Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook, and Apple’s iPad have taken the e-reading marketplace by storm. Interested in making an e-reader purchase? A recent Washington Post article sheds light on the benefits of various devices. But e-book reading is not limited to e-readers alone. According to a Pew Internet and American Life Project study, of those who consumed digital books over a recent 12-month period, 42% read them on the computer; 41% via traditional e-reader; 23% on a tablet; and 29% via mobile phone.

Today, in addition to purchasing e-books, you can access free digital downloads, thanks to the more than three-quarters of the nation’s public libraries that lend e-books.  Interestingly, only a relatively small number of e-reading device owners realize they can access digital books with their library cards. Pew recently released a companion study focusing on digital library loans specifically. The report found that only 12% borrowed an e-book from the library in the past year, and a whopping 62% said they didn’t know if their library offers access to digital books.

Exciting apps and online resources are also driving e-readership rates. For example, the recent release of the Reading Rainbow app for iPad intends to engage a new generation of readers through its dynamic showcase of 150 narrated interactive books, video “field trips,” and classic Reading Rainbow segments featuring host Lamar Burton. Or parents can peruse the website Digital Storytime for reviews, information, and links to purchase an array of digital children’s books.

And all these digital options are definitely having an impact. Pew found that owners of e-books read an average of 24 books over a 12-month period compared with an average of 15 books consumed by those who do not use e-readers. And e-book owners are also more likely to read books across a variety for formats – from Internet-backed options to traditional print.

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