Tablets “vs” e-readers

At the end of last week, Nielsen published the results of its first-quarter tracking study of how “connected devices” are being used. Part of the study asked tablet owners about the impact of that device on the amount of time spent with other connected technology.

Overall, 24% of tablet owners who also owned e-readers said they used the e-reader less after buying the tablet. Another 16% said they used the e-reader more, and 3% said they no longer used the e-reader at all.

One snapshot, likely to shift over time, but the results resonate intuitively. I was struck not so much by the findings but Nielsen’s presentation of them, which underscore a larger challenge: the pie for share of mind is relatively fixed. There are only 24 hours in a day.

Though enthusiasts of long-form content lament what feels like a decline in the number of people willing to engage in immersive reading, I’m not sure such a trend exists. It feels more likely to me that people have many other demands on their time.

That’s a tough problem for book and magazine publishers to solve. But it shows why making content available across platforms, particularly the ones likely to be used for competing activities, is a necessity. As noted recently, digital makes the case for thinking “either-and”.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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