Do Kindles and Nooks affect reading habits?


Purpose of survey

Ten years ago, I watched people's interest in Rocketbook and Softbook ebook reading devices appear and then disappear. A new generation of ebook devices was introduced 2006. The new devices use a different display technology that alleviates several problems and issues with the first devices. Despite the title of this article, these surveys were originally intended to answer questions about whether these new devices will fade away like the earlier devices or stay. If these devices are here to stay then I feel libraries must provide content and, possibly the devices themselves, to remain relevant to future readers.

Three surveys of Kindle and Nook users.
  • Kindle survey 1: Posted on Amazon Kindle forum February 5, 2010. Responses collected until February 9, 2010. Responses: 27
  • Kindle survey 2: Posted on KindleBoards February 10, 2010. Responses collected until February 20, 2010. Responses: 54
  • Nook Survey: Posted on Barnes and Noble’s Nook forum January 28, 2010. Responses collected until February 14, 2010. Responses: 24
The surveys asked the same five questions.
  • What month and year did you get your Kindle [Nook]?
  • Since getting your Kindle [Nook] do you read more, the same number, or fewer books than before getting your Kindle [Nook]?
  • Do you read different types of books on your Kindle (or Nook) than before getting a Kindle [Nook]?
  • Has a Kindle [Nook] affected your reading in other ways?
  • Do you think any changes reported above are permanent or temporary? E.G., Are these changes temporary because you are reading on a new "toy"? Or are they permanent because the Kindle [Nook] has made a fundamental change in your life?
Links to:
My conclusions from the survey

I had expected these surveys to reveal that Kindles and Nooks provided a "satisfactory" reading experience. I did not expect readers to claim they are reading 2, 3, 4, even 10 times, more books. I did not expect 77% to claim they are reading different stuff than they read before. I did not expect claims of reading faster and with greater comprehension. I did not expect devices to make reading easier for those with carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis and ADD. I did not expect 90% to claim their reading habits are permanently changed. But they did.

When discussion ebooks vs. print books, print book defenders frequently express sentimental attachment to the smell and touch of ebooks. In these surveys, Kindle and Nook users reveal numerous characteristics worthy of their loyalty and love. Their loyalty and love, furthermore, is not infatuation for a new toy, but a permanent affection for a device that enhances their reading life. The survey results strongly suggest these devices and their descendants are here to stay. The next question is how should libraries respond?

Chris Rippel
Central Kansas Library System
Great Bend, Kansas

5 comments:

  1. Interesting & enlightening survey. I sure hope your scenario of someone questioning a library vs. a kindle does not become a reality.

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  2. The people that have Kindles love them. I hope it won't become a battle with libraries.

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  3. There has to be away for libraries to get in on the Kindles trend. I wonder, with people reading so much more has tere been spike in the sell of speed reading software?

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  4. Thanks for the interesting info on your blog!

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  5. I personally dont like the kindles and nooks because they take business away from libraries and bookstores. We dont want a new generation where books are no loner made, just ebooks. This is why Borders closed! Support bookstores and libraries, we should not buy ebooks.

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