Fuelled on a diet of romance and crime, new research claims the digital reading revolution is being powered by “prolific” readers who are predominantly female and over 45.
A study carried out for ebook retailer Kobo suggests that women represent 75% of the most active e-readers – defined as readers who spend at least 30 minutes a day using electronic books.
“They are the engine that powers the industry,” said chief executive Michael Tamblyn. “The industry has intuitively known this, but we wanted to shine a light on it.”
Around 77% of the most active readers – who make up a 10th of Kobo’s 28 million customers – are aged 45 and over, with the largest single group (30%) aged between 55 and 64. Kobo said this makes e-reading “the first technological revolution being driven by [those aged] 45 and older, rather than younger generations”.
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“As one gets older there are a number of benefits in e-reading,” said Tamblyn, “it’s nice to be able to make the font larger, or not to go to the bookshop to find the next book.”
Kobo, whose report is based on data from its own customers as well as a survey of 16,000 readers using Kobo e-readers and competing devices, said that while women accounted for the largest group of active digital readers, older men also made up a significant proportion. Men aged between 18 to 34 accounted for only 13% of active digital readers, but once they were over 65, men represented 34% of the most enthusiastic readers, said the retailer.
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