Readers of E-Books Read More Overall

April 22, 2014 ( – How Americans read and how much they read appears to be connected, according to the results of a recent poll.

The poll, conducted by Harris Interactive, finds that 30% of those who read either more or exclusively in the e-book format are likely to read over 20 books in an average year. Only 18% of those who read more (or only) in print copy and 21% of those who read in both formats equally are likely to do the same. The poll results also show a higher average readership per year than either print copy hardliners or equal-opportunity readers (22.5 books vs. 16 and 15, respectively).

Looking at the number of books purchased in the past year, with a reported average of 14 books, those favoring e-books purchased roughly twice as many as those preferring hard copies, who purchased an average of less than seven.

Eighty-four percent of poll respondents say they read at least one book in an average year, with 36% saying they read more than 10 books a year, regardless of format (hardcover, paperback or electronic). On average, Americans report reading roughly 17 books per year. Looking at demographics, Baby Boomers and Matures (whose readerships average roughly 19 and 25 books per year, respectively) both read more in a typical year than Millennials (13 books). Women read twice as many books as men (23 books vs. 11 books).

The poll also reveals that 65% of respondents purchased at least one book in the past year, with almost one in 10 (9%) purchasing over 20 books and an average of over eight books purchased. Women also purchased more books in the last year than men (10 books vs. seven books, respectively).

However, in terms of overall users, the print format is still king. Nearly half of respondents (46%) say they only read print books, with an additional 16% saying they read more print books than e-books. Seventeen percent read about the same number of print and e-format books, while 15% read more and 6% read exclusively in the electronic format.

Fifty-one percent of respondents say they read the same amount in the past six months as they did before, while 23% read less in the past six months and 17% read more. Younger Americans often get blamed for declining readership nationally, but Millennials (21%) were more likely than their elders (14% Generation Xers; 15% Baby Boomers and Matures) to have read more in the past six months.

Further reinforcing the relationship between reading format and overall readership, those who read either more or exclusively e-books are more likely to indicate reading more over the past six months (29%) than those preferring print copies (13%) or those who reading both formats equally (16%).

The poll queried 2,234 adults online between March 12 and 17.