New Study: Mobile Reading is Up

Posted November 3, 2014 by Holly in Discussions, News | 8 Comments

mobile readingThis was a UK study, but I found it really interesting. I read books primarily on my e-reader, but I do read on my phone on those rare occasions I’m out and about without my Nook. However, when it comes to blog-hopping, news, social media, etc, I use my phone more than my table, e-reader or even my pc.

Mobile phone book reading boom takes hold

Oxford, UK, 7 October 2014 – We are more likely to use our mobiles to read books than ever before, according to new research by publishing services provider, Publishing Technology.

The survey, which polled 1,500 UK consumers, found that 43 per cent of people read (or have read) ebooks on their mobile. And our love of mobile reading is on the rise, with a huge 59 per cent of people reading more on their phones now than they did last year. Younger people in particular are not just using their mobiles to text, Snapchat and take selfies, they’re also taking to their mobile phones to read more frequently, with 23 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds using their mobiles to read books on a daily basis.

The trend for shorter, snappier online content looks to be changing the way we read books on our phones. The survey shows that we read on our mobiles in short bursts with a growing preference for bite-sized content that is easier to consume on the go.

For example, two thirds of Brits (66 per cent) tend to spend less than 30 minutes reading on their mobile phones in each sitting. And more than a third of young people aged 18-24 said they preferred to read shorter content on their mobiles (38 per cent).

But one thing that doesn’t change just because we’re reading on our mobiles is our favourite genres. As is true in the world of printed books, crime and thriller books are still the most popular genres for readers (27 per cent), followed by autobiographies/biographies (25 per cent), general fiction (20 per cent), sci-fi/fantasy (19 per cent) and romance/erotic fiction (18 per cent).

We all have our favourite places to read too. Relaxation and home comforts are top of the list for young people most of whom prefer to read on their mobiles in the comfort of their homes, either snuggled up on the couch or while taking a long bath (61 per cent). By comparison, older generations (35 and over) are reading around the pressures of busy work lives, mainly reading books secretly on their mobiles at work and during the daily commute on public transport (73 per cent).

Michael Cairns, Publishing Technology’s CEO, said: “As mobile phones become a more intrinsic part of our lives, we are increasingly using them to read our favourite books. Technology is changing the what, where and how of book reading and this survey shows us how significant mobiles, in particular, are going to be to the future of books.”

“We can see that the technology still has a long way to go before it satisfies everyone. But as mobiles continue to improve the user experience, we can expect more people to choose them as a convenient way to read books.”

The Mobile Book Reading Habits survey was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Publishing Technology. The full results can be accessed at

I thought it was interesting that romance readers showed the lowest percentile. Since romance is the highest selling fiction genre, I can only conclude that, like me, most romance readers have an e-reader or still prefer print books. I used to read way more print than digital, but in the last couple years my print reading has dwindled to practically nothing. I might read 5 print books a year, which is nothing when I average 200+ books.

Do you read on your mobile phone, or do you prefer to read in print or on your e-reader? What’s your current print vs digital ratio? 

Publishing Technology plc:

Publishing Technology is the world-leading provider of content solutions that transform business.  We cover the publishing process from end to end with content systems, audience development and content delivery software and services. Combining our unmatched publishing knowledge, global operations and perpetual support model with our advance enterprise system, ingentaconnect scholarly portal, pub2web custom hosting platform and PCG (Publishers Communication Group) sales and marketing consultancy, we offer the industry’s only full spectrum of solutions to help publishers move their content forward.  Listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, the company operates jointly from Europe (Oxford) and North America (Boston and New Jersey), with local offices in Brazil, India, China and Australia.  Assisting 400 trade and scholarly publishers for over thirty years, Publishing Technology solves the fundamental issues content providers face.

 Visit, follow @publishingtech on Twitter, or connect with us on LinkedIn.

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8 responses to “New Study: Mobile Reading is Up

  1. Jen

    I rarely ever read print now either. Occasionally I’ll get an older print book from the Library or the used book store, but that’s about it. And when I read digitally, it’s always on my phone. I have a Kindle Fire but my kid has pretty much taken that over with games and videos, so I stopped using it! I do have an older eInk Kindle, but the only time I use that nowadays are when I’m going on vacation and want something with a longer battery life than my phone. I always have my phone on me the rest of the time, though, so it’s been natural to just use that for all my books.

  2. I have a Kobo ereader and love it! Before I got it, I promised myself no more paper books re the costing of the ereader. And I have kept to that – until a week or so ago, I broke down and bought Leslie Tentlers backlist (4 books) in case of emergency ie ereader breaking down!

  3. I’ll be honest, the only print books I’ve read this year have been 1) re-reads of old favorites I can’t get in digital or 2) ARCs. I haven’t purposely bought a print book in….

    Yeah. That long.

  4. I was just looking at my print collection at home yesterday and was thinking about getting rid of all of it. I don’t really have the storage space to keep collecting print books and I’m not reading print books anyway. Like Holly, I read maybe 2-3 print books a year and considering I’m reading close to 200 books, that’s nothing.

    I just started reading books on my phone, though. Maybe in the last few months. I had only done it like once before but I actually like reading on my phone now but reading on my iPad will still always win over reading on my phone. Especially because I take my iPad wherever I go anyway.

    • I don’t think I could get rid of ALL my print books .. and I like looking at them in the bookcases! I have thinned them down to just keepers/re readers!

      • That’s what I need to do. I have way too many print books. There’s no need for me to keep the ones I never plan to re-read. That’s my goal for 2015 – to reduce the sheer number of books in my house.

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