Ebook Trends: The Year of Living Digitally
Overall, general fiction and mystery/thriller genres are more highly preferred, at 7.4% and 6.4% above average (63.3% and 62.9%, respectively) among those who have used dedicated e-readers. Curiously, however, these two genres are slightly below average among those who have used tablets. Science fiction, on the other hand, is preferred at 6.8% above average (44.2%) by those who have used personal computers to read e-books. 
The study has not yet shown a definitive rise in tablet-driven popularity for nonfiction ebooks, although these are more popular with those who still read ebooks on desktop or laptop PCs. This would suggest that publishers have not yet taken full advantage of the interactive capabilities of tablets, which would enhance the non-linear nature of nonfiction books such as travel guides, cookbooks, K-12 textbooks and general reference works. 
In higher education, BISG’s Student Attitudes study found that digital adoption is much more about integrated learning systems, such as CengageBrain or Pearson’s MyLab, than it is about simple, narrative ebooks, per se. The relative scarcity of tablets and e-readers and the dominance of laptop and desktop computers, plus the complexity of learning environments in general, are driving the education market in a much different digital direction than trade publishing.
Another factor affecting tablets and ebook consumption is the fact that these new devices are by definition capable of doing other tasks than ereading. Studies have shown that other activities—streaming video, audio, games, general Web browsing and email—have an impact on ebook consumption, particularly on the Apple iPad and Android tablets other than Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Tablet. However, the Angry Birds argument should not be overstated. Avid book readers appear to be switching from dedicated e-readers to tablets. More importantly, once they experience ebook reading, most consumers are buying and reading less print.
John Parsons (firstname.lastname@example.org), former Editorial Director of The Seybold Report, is an independent writer, ghostwriter, and editor. He is the co-author of the interactive printed textbook, Introduction to Graphic Communication, on the art, science and business of print, which has been adopted by Ryerson, Arizona State, the University of Houston, and many other schools and vocational training centers. Custom editions of the book are under consideration by major printing companies and franchises for internal training purposes.