Why people buy eReaders

Two surveys on Mobileread Forums' Web site show that two-thirds of the motivations for purchasing eReaders is about reading and overcoming problems with print books.

In one survey, between January 27, 2011 and February 18, 2011, 71% checked, "I really read a lot, very convenient device", the big blue portion in the pie chart. Over 70 percent of respondents "read a lot" and thought an eReader would make reading "more convenient".

A second survey, from January 2010 to January 2011, asked, “What are the reasons that made you decide to buy an e-reader?” 225 people responded. This survey offered a more detailed selection of reasons for buying an eReader. NOTE the seven most-common reasons are about desires and problems of book-lovers and heavy readers, not gadget users. The highest gadget-related reason was only chosen by 30%, about one-third.
  1. Portability (carrying many books on a trip)  86%

  2. Lack of shelf space in the home  64%

  3. Legally free books  52%

  4. Instant gratification through immediate downloading of eBooks  38%

  5. eReaders are more comfortable to hold than paper books  38%

  6. More choice than in a local bookstore or library  37%

  7. eBooks cost less than paper books  30%<

  8. Gadget love 29%

  9. eBooks are more environmentally friendly  18%

  10. Love anything shiny, just like a crow  16%

  11. Can’t read paper books because of poor eyesight  14%

  12. Access to English books when in a foreign country  13%

  13. eBooks don’t age like paper books  13%

  14. eBooks have built-in dictionary and other features not related to reading  10%

  15. It’s easier to read an LCD screen in the dark  8%

  16. Eyes hurt less reading e-paper than reading real paper  8%

  17. Looking cool, want people to see you using it  5%
The comments of people who took these surveys reveal even greater detail. The following comments are those taking the first survey.
  1. "My initial motivator was how my home was overflowing with physical books."

  2. "I've had the Kindle on my wishlist for years but kind of worried I would over spend on ebooks ... I quickly discovered the endless supply of legal free ebooks and now actually spend much less on books. An ereader will literally pay for itself in short order. Had I known, I would have had one years ago."

  3. "Most of the books I like to read are out of copyright. So rather than paid $20 a pop for printed versions, I could buy a Kindle and read them all for $139."

  4. "I am an avid reader, but issues with hands have made it difficult for me to hold a book, so this was the primary reason for an e-reader (lighter than most books). Also it's convenient when going to appointments, hospital stays, traveling, I only need to take this along instead of a ton of books. I was the girl who would travel with 10+ lbs of books in my carry on cuz I never knew what I wanted to read, and I HAVE to go to sleep with a book..."

  5. "I'm the same as Pooky's girl. I had sooo many books, I love reading them, and collecting them. But I have a small apt! My sisters were always telling me I should get rid of some of them. Easy for the ones I no longer had use for... but that was only a trickle compared to the 3 bookcases I had. So, I got a Palm to read with first, and then I started reading up on the ereaders coming out. I had no idea about the speedy effect! I've read almost twice as much as I usually do a year!"

  6. "I told my husband we could either buy another bookshelf (which we really don't have room for), or we could buy an eReader.   And with all the freebies and deals, an eReader has ended up costing a lot less than anticipated. Oh, I still lose my 'book' ... it's just that now when I walk around the house going 'WHERE IS MY BOOK?!', everyone knows which book (I usually read 3 concurrently), because there's only one."

  7. "I spend most of my time in Mexico. We have a small English library and a very small bookstore that caters to tourists. For twelve years I read what I could find rather than what I wanted. My tastes obviously don't match with most of the Americans here. Now, I get to order from the internet and actually read what interests me."

  8. "... It's also nice because I can be a bit fickle with what I read, so if I start reading something new and don't like it, I can stop reading it right then and still have hundreds of books to choose from. XD"

  9. "I'm an avid reader but I didn't pay much attention to e-readers until the first Kindle was released. I bought my 505 after debating between the Kindle and Sony. There aren't many things that thrill me more than being able to check out a book from the Phoenix online library and be reading in a matter of minutes all without leaving my house."

  10. "I have a few reasons for making the jump to an eReader. One is also the lugging around books. I like to read a whole series at one time once I get started. So I would just hate to be hauling around my big old back breaker purse full of (for example) yard sale paperbacks volume 3 and 4, borrowed friend's hardback volume 2 and library hardback volume 5 and trying desperately to find vol 1! Then eye problems made most paperbacks a pain to focus on and hand problems make it yet another pain to hold heavy hardbacks... Ereaders are SO SO much easier to buy the whole set in one fell swoop and be reading in 5 minutes, adjust the font size, prop it up between the cat and the cookie box and just read read read. So nice to have my reading habit back."

  11. 1) I tutor English/literature, so it's important for me to be able to pull up anything and everything that a student might want to discuss. Having an ereader lets me do my job more efficiently. 2) I don't always know what I'm going to be in the mood to read when I'm heading out of the house for the day. 3) My pbook editions of Chaucer and Shakespeare weigh close to 8 lbs EACH. My Kindle weighs just a smidge less than that. (This is sarcasm. Kindles actually weigh about a pound. - Editor.) 4) Since I'm able to increase the font size on ebooks, I can read for longer stretches of time. 5) I like gadgets.
eBooks are about reading more books.

Don't believe anyone telling you otherwise.

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