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Dueling Reports Suggest 54% and 46% of Kids in the US Now Read eBooks

green-business-graph[1]It looks like this is shaping up to be the week of the dueling digital reading surveys.

On the one side we have a report from Scholastic which say that 46% of kids are reading ebooks, while on the other side we have a new report being sold by Digital Book World which claims that 54% of kids in the US are reading ebooks.

I wonder which one has the better data?

I’m not sure. I can’t compare the reports because although the Scholastic report is freely available the one from DBW is not. The only public data from the DBW digital reading survey are a few bits here and there and there isn’t much context. But what I can see in the press release tends to make me question the accuracy of the unseen report.

For example, DBW asked parents what their kids are reading and got a response of 54% read ebooks. Scholastic asked kids the same question and got an answer of 46%. Which do you think is more accurate?

For this particular figure I tend to go for the Scholastic report because I can recall how many times my mother only thought she knew what I was doing. And given that the DBW press release indicates that 1,300 parents were surveyed but does not mention if any kids participated, I think that’s a good reason to stick with the Scholastic report.

The DBW report would best be looked at as not a survey of what kids are reading but a survey of what their parents believe they are reading. That nuance could result in a discrepancy between what is occuring vs what the survey reports.

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fjtorres January 16, 2013 um 4:17 pm

On the other hand, 56% and 46% average to 50%.
Which happens to be the average percentage of genre fiction sold in ebook form.
Do we really need to debate a 4% variance? Why not enjoy the good news? 😉
(And it *is* good news–remember, it wasn’t that long ago that ebook reading skewed heavily towards retirees. I suspect it now looks like a saddle curve with working-age people being the less involved demographic.

That more than anything tells us ebooks are here to stay: as the working demographic ages it’ll likely have more time to read and adopt ebooks as their less-tech aware forbears did and the younger cohorts are already invested in ebooks so even if their reading time diminushes as they move into the work force they’ll stay with ebooks over pbooks.

LP January 17, 2013 um 10:06 am

It’s a consumer survey. It’s accurate to the nearest 10% if you’re lucky. So the number is "about half".
Also, even if there was a way to determine which is more accurate – how does your view of the world change if you know the answer is definitely 46% and not 54% (or vice versa).

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