New book study, eBooks on the rise

The Pew Internet & American Life Project recently released a study done in November and December of 2011 called “The Rise of e-Reading.”  Here are some of the main statistics:

  • 21 percent of Americans have read an ebook.
  • People prefer ebooks in a head-to-head competition except when they are reading to children or sharing books with others.
  • A majority of readers prefer to buy, rather than borrow their books.  (54 percent of print readers and 61 percent ebook readers.)
  • 80 percent of Americans 16 and older say they read, at least occasionally, for pleasure,  36 percent read for pleasure every day or almost every day.
  • People read most frequently to keep up with current events. 78 percent of Americans say they read at least occasionally to keep up with current events while 50 percent say they do it daily or almost daily.
  • 74 percent of Americans read at least occasionally to do reasearch on specific topics that interest them, 24 percent do it daily or almost daily.
  • 56 percent of Americans say they read at least occasionally for work or school while 36 percent say they do it daily or almost daily.
  • 48 percent of ebook readers bought the last book they read, 24 percent borrowed it from someone else, 14 percent borrowed it from a library and 13 percent borrowed it “from another source” aka they downloaded illegally from the internet.

Read the full Pew study.

SparkNotes going cellular

Originally called The Spark when it debuted in 1999, SparkNotes is now available as an app for your mobile device.  While SparkNotes shouldn’t be used instead of a text, it can be very helpful when trying to understand everything that is going on.

The free app comes with 50 study guides, a check-in feature to help facilitate study groups as well as a function to share what you’re currently studying on Facebook.

Read the story by Cameron Summerson or get the SparkNotes app.

Potter to be read by all

The popular Harry Potter series went on sale in ebook format in the last week of March. 

 Unlike most ebooks, they are for sale exclusively on J.K. Rowling’s new web store Pottermore.  Instead of being encrypted like the ebooks you buy from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, these books are in an EPUB format, the most popular open ebook standard, that can be read on pretty much any computer or device. 

According to an article from The Salt Lake Tribune, “publishers insist on encryption in the form of ‘Digital Rights Management,’ or DRM because they believe it stops piracy.”  Really, they just want to make sure you have to buy your books from the same place you bought your eReader.

Until now, Harry Potter books have been among the most pirated books in the world because there have been no legal electronic versions.  Fans have had to scan or even retype entire books to be shared online.

Now, legal electronic versions are available on Pottermore in a variety of formats compatible with whatever eReader you happen to be using.  All downloads will include invisible “watermarks” that identify the buyer to discourage widespread sharing but will be able to be shared between friends.

If this method of selling unencrypted ebooks turns out to be a success, it may pave the way for other authors to follow suit and change the way ebooks are sold forever.

Learn more in the original article by Peter Svensson.