Our next report in our series that will examine libraries in the digital age (over the next few years) will combine the quantitative results from our December 2011 nationally representative phone survey with longer responses and stories from a series of online surveys of both librarians and e-book borrowers. We are actively looking for e-book borrowers to volunteer to take our online surveys.

Are you a library user? Or a librarian? Do you own an e-book reader, or a tablet computer? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, we want to hear from you. Sign up here to be notified of future online surveys to help us learn how library patrons’ needs and expectations are changing in the era of e-books, widespread mobile connectivity, and the existence of vast digital collections.

Why people like to read:
26% of those who had read a book in the past 12 months said that what they enjoyed most was learning, gaining knowledge, and discovering information.
15% cited the pleasures of escaping reality, becoming immersed in another world, and the enjoyment they got from using their imaginations.
12% said they liked the entertainment value of reading, the drama of good stories, the suspense of watching a good plot unfold.
12% said they enjoyed relaxing while reading and having quiet time.
6% liked the variety of topics they could access via reading and how they could find books that particularly interested them.
4% said they enjoy finding spiritual enrichment through reading and expanding their worldview.
3% said they like being mentally challenged by books.
2% cited the physical properties of books – their feel and smell – as a primary pleasure.

Why people like to read:

  • 26% of those who had read a book in the past 12 months said that what they enjoyed most was learning, gaining knowledge, and discovering information.
  • 15% cited the pleasures of escaping reality, becoming immersed in another world, and the enjoyment they got from using their imaginations.
  • 12% said they liked the entertainment value of reading, the drama of good stories, the suspense of watching a good plot unfold.
  • 12% said they enjoyed relaxing while reading and having quiet time.
  • 6% liked the variety of topics they could access via reading and how they could find books that particularly interested them.
  • 4% said they enjoy finding spiritual enrichment through reading and expanding their worldview.
  • 3% said they like being mentally challenged by books.
  • 2% cited the physical properties of books – their feel and smell – as a primary pleasure.

The rise of e-reading: new report (on a new section of our site!)

One-fifth of American adults (21%) report that they have read an e-book in the past year. The rise of e-books in American culture is part of a larger story about a shift from printed to digital material. We’ve got it all in our new report out today

You’ll notice that the new report is living in a new space - as part of our multi-year study of the changing role of public libraries in the digital age, we felt it was important to give this work a room of its own. Please let us know what you think!