Tablets 600New research just released has confirmed what everyone already knew, that eBook reading is on the up, printed book reading is declining and that the tablet has entered the mainstream. In terms of actual numbers it looks like this: the number of people who own either a tablet or eBook reader grew from 18% in late 2011 to 33% in late 2012. While the number of Americans who own a tablet (including Android and Apple devices) is some 25% of the population, up from 10% in late 2011.

With 19% of Americans owning an eBook reader (like a Kindle or Nook) but 25% owning a tablet it means that consumers have decided that multi-function devices (which can act as eBook readers as well as mobile Internet devices and games machines) are more preferable than just a simple eBook reader, even though tablets are at least double (or even three or four) times the price.

A quick bit of maths also shows that many people own an eBook reader and a tablet which is to be expected as the reading experience on dedicated eBook readers, with their e-ink displays, is far superior to that of reading on a tablet. Also the ability to sync books and current locations across multiple devices including an eBook reader is brilliant.

Whenever I am asked if it is worth buying an eBook reader as well as a tablet, I always advise yes. Most people are sold on the idea once I show them that you can sync the furthest page read and access all your books equally from the Kindle Android app and from the Kindle device. I always use this scenario: you are reading at home on your Kindle device, then you need to go out but while you are waiting for the bus/train/plane/coffee/wife etc you keep reading your book on your Android phone or tablet. Then when you get home and pick up the Kindle device it will move to the last page you read while you were out!

Tablet adoption is soaring (it more than doubled over the last twelve months) which can only be good news for Android. With the persistent rumors of $99 devices coming from the likes of Google and Acer, 2013 could be the year of the tablet (assuming the devices are usable).

Gary Sims
Gary has been a tech writer for over a decade and specializes in open source systems. He has a Bachelor's degree in Business Information Systems. He has many years of experience in system design and development as well as system administration, system security and networking protocols. He also knows several programming languages, as he was previously a software engineer for 10 years.