By Andrew Eisner

(Eisner is director of Community and Content for, a site that does research on electronic shopping). Amazon claims they sell more Kindles on their site than any other product but just to cover the bases they also offer a very popular iPhone and iPad app. Barnes and Noble also offers an app.

As the iPad continues to build momentum as a multi-purpose media player and e-Reader, consumers also have more and more e-Readers to choose from. This Retrevo Pulse study looks at e-Readers and iPads: who’s planning to buy one and what could help sell more of them.

Although an overwhelming majority of respondents (64%) said they have no plans to buy an e-Reader, we were surprised to see almost 20% say they were planning to buy an e-Reader, and that doesn’t include iPads. Although, it appears consumers still want Kindles and other e-Readers, it looks like the iPad could grab a substantial share of the market. The study revealed almost one-third (8% of 28%) of the people who are in the market for an e-Reader, plan to buy an iPad instead.

Serious readers want a serious e-Reader

We were not surprised to discover that active readers are much more likely to buy an e-Reader than casual readers. Specifically, 45% (11% of 24%) of casual readers planning to buy an e-Reader will buy an iPad instead, compared to only 14% (7% of 49%) of avid readers who said they were going to buy an iPad instead of an e-Reader. In other words Apple will still attract many e-Reader buyers but Kindle owners might buy more books.

Consumers want to hold an e-Reader before they buy one

With Kindles now available at Targets, sales of these devices could increase. A large majority of respondents said it was important for them to try an e-Reader out before they buy one however many more active and avid readers said getting hands-on experience was important than casual readers.

Young people still read books

We were curious to know if there were any differences among age groups, gender, and even smartphone owners who stood out as more active or less active book readers and were glad to see active readers were divided equally among age groups. So it looks like we’re not raising a generation that doesn’t read books after all. Hurray! It was the same story for smartphone, Mac, or PC owners. In other words, those iPhone and MacBook owners don’t read more books than the rest of the crowd. 

More women are avid readers than men

The only difference in the number of active readers we found was by gender where almost twice as many women and men said they were active readers and almost twice as many men as women said they don’t read any books.


While it looks like the Apple iPad is an attractive alternative to a dedicated e-Reader with almost a third of people who are in the market for an e-Reader, planning to buy an iPad instead, it appears that serious readers still prefer a dedicated e-Reader. Our advice to all e-Reader manufacturers is, get your e-Reader to the retailers where consumers can try them out. On a happy note it looks like despite all the time spent playing video games and texting, we aren’t raising a generation of non-readers.

The Retrevo Pulse Report is an ongoing study of people and electronics from the consumer electronics shopping and review site The data for this report came from a study of online individuals (non-Retrevo users) conducted by an independent panel. The sample size was over 1,000 distributed across gender, age, income and location in the United States. Most responses have a confidence interval of 4% at a 95% confidence level.