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Over a Third of eReaders Are Used Just Once Before Being Set Aside

Back in January I reported that nearly half of the gadgets given as Christmas gifts  in the UK last year had yet to be opened a month later.

Given that Kindles topped that survey’s list of unused devices, it comes as no surprise today that a recent poll showed that a third of US ereader owners said they only used their device once before putting it away or selling it., the US subsidiary of the coupon site which released the January survey data, recently polled 1,983 US consumers and asked about the gadgets they used.  This filtered group of respondents consisted entirely of ereader owners, and 337 (17%) indicated that , on average, they used their ereader at least once a week.  Another 575 (29%) use it at least once a week. And the not-so-surprising statistic today is that 694  (35%) of the respondents indicated that they used the device just once.

The survey went on to ask why those 694 owners only used the ereader once, and the majority (396 respondents or 57%) indicated that they didn’t have the time to use it; they are too busy. Approximately 22% (153 respondents) said that they’d received it as a gift and didn’t have a need for it. And a sizable 174 (25%) were among the Luddite minority who preferred to read with paper books.

The survey data goes on to show that 37% of the regretful ereader owners did not think it was a good buy, and another 29% planned to get rid of their ereader because they used it so rarely.

It’s data like this which explains why one of the best times of year to get a new gadget is in the first couple months after Christmas. To heck with Black Friday; by the end of January there’s usually a glut of gadgets being disposed of, so much so that it is almost a buyer’s market.

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image by KOMUnews

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CJJ November 12, 2012 um 9:10 am

I think the purchase of a tablet has a huge effect on ereader usage. Friends , family and myself were all avid ereader users. None of us thought we would use a tablet for reading books, just for news, video, email and the like. But over time it hasn’t played out that way. It’s not ereader vs books, it’s ereader vs tablet. With better and better screen resolutions the advantages of ereaders becomes less compelling. Better battery life, lower price point and the ability to read in direct sunlight are not going to attract a lot of tablet owners to buy 2nd devices and those with both devices are less likely to upgrade their ereader for improved models. Last Christmas ereader sales hung in there, I don’t think it will be the same this year.

Chris Rechtsteiner November 12, 2012 um 9:51 am

When you look at the minuscule percentage of the U.S. population that are avid readers, the fact that someone received an ereader as a gift and never continued to use it can’t really be that much of a surprise. Sadly.

Until there is a commitment to build a nation of readers, these negative trends will do little but continue.

oj829 November 12, 2012 um 11:51 am

There’s a lot of prep work to getting someone up and running with one of these readers. The Nook Color, when it first came out, needed a techie to help with physical setup, and about a hlaf-dozen other "prep" tasks before a giftee could just "read a damn book". There was no way you could give eomeone a wrapped, closed NC on Xmas morning and not have it be a PITA.

Let’s take a theoretical hardware device that has NO hurdle to hardware setup.

The LEAST possible PITA is making sure someone has an account at a store and a source of funding for books, and some kind of mechanism in place that said person doesn’t end up buying $5000 in books somehow.

Some of the problems which need to go away now?

1) The big three (B&N, Amazon, Apple) see e-readers/tablets as electronic shopping carts. These three also have rather high walls around their gardens. Google’s slightly more "open", but setting up a noob with a Google account is a PITA.

2) DRM. Nuff said.

3) What about libraries? They’re great, but there’s no way you’re getting someone a library card on Xmas morning.

Even to borrow free books from the library, or just use something

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