“E-book borrowers are book lovers,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet project. “They were the heaviest book-reading cohort of the ones we measured. They are more into books than even e-book readers, the larger group they fall into.”
E-book borrowers represent about 12% of e-book readers, according to the study. Among e-book readers, about 21% of the population per a Pew study from earlier in the year, the buy rate is a slightly higher, at 55%. For Rainie, the takeaway is that e-book borrowers are slightly more likely to borrow an e-book than e-book readers, but are still heavy book buyers.
“E-book borrowers being buyers is a phenomenon that’s true in the print world as well,” said Molly Raphael, president of the American Library Association. “We know this anecdotally and this data that shows it is an important finding for us.” Raphael said that e-book borrowers will discover a book they want to borrow and then see that they have to wait for it to become available and will get impatient and buy it. E-book borrowers also sometimes sample e-books by borrowing them and then buy them.
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