Digital Census: Tablets closing on Kindle

Digital Census: Tablets closing on Kindle

Amazon’s Kindle rules the roost in e-books, but tablets could soon overtake it for digital reading, FutureBook’s fourth annual Digital Census suggests.

The survey of more than 2,000 people with professional links to the industry found that nearly half (47.6%) now commonly use a Kindle for their personal reading. But not many fewer (43.6%) now use an iPad—a figure that has risen steadily over the last few years of the Census. It has been boosted over the last year by Apple’s launch of the iPad Mini, and the recent unveiling of the iPad Air can only increase its popularity as a reading device further.

Although the Census found people also commonly read on computers (31.6%) and phones (31.4%), the findings suggest that the race for the digital reading market has become a two-horse one between dedicated e-reader devices and multi-use tablets. And the bets between them are split. Asked if they think most readers will transition from e-readers to tablets in due course, respondents are divided between those agreeing (39.5%), disagreeing (24.3%) and feeling unsure yet (36.2%).

But while Amazon is facing stiffer competition for its Kindle, it remains the most popular platform for e-book buying by a long chalk. Nearly three quarters (72.4%) of Census respondents say they have bought an e-book from Amazon—more than four times as many as its nearest rival, Apple’s iBookstore (15.9%). One notably growing rival for Amazon is Kobo, which has become respondents’ third most popular source of e-books this year (10.4%), on the back of a sustained push into the UK market. Google Play, while still relatively small in this market, has also increased its share in 2013.

FutureBook’s Digital Census was completed by 2,375 people with professional links to the industry. The full report will be published in early December. The Bookseller FutureBook 2013 Conference takes place on 21st November, click here for tickets.