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Survey: E-reader Popularity Slowly Rising

September 23, 2010

The popularity of electronic book readers has surged in recent years and will continue to grow in the American market, but it might only be a niche market desired mainly by avid book lovers.

A recent survey has found that around eight percent of US readers own and use an e-reader. But the poll, released by Harris Interactive on Wednesday, showed that about 12 percent of Americans said they are likely to buy one in the next six months.

The poll of 2,775 US adults showed that e-reader owners were much likelier to buy books than other Americans.

Harris Interactive found that 1 in 5 e-reader users bought 21 or more books in the past year. E-books now make up nearly three percent of book sales. Many analysts expect that number to quadruple by 2015.

Amazon.com’s Kindle launched in 2007 and has sold about 5 million devices, according to consulting firm Forrester Research. The firm also reports bookstore chain Barnes & Noble has sold about 1 million Nook e-readers since its debut last year.

Tech companies, including Apple, Sony, Amazon and others, are waging an all-out war for the growing e-books market with several rushing to put out e-readers in order to get a foothold in the lucrative market. Borders Group Inc., which does not make its own e-reader, sells them.

Despite their growing popularity, e-readers seem destined to remain popular mostly with devoted bibliophiles. About 60 percent of Americans questioned in the survey said they were not likely to buy an e-reader in the coming months.

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