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Pew: E-readers outpacing tablets

E-reader ownership in the U.S. has been surging lately, surpassing even the adoption of tablets, according to a new report.

The percentage of American adults who own an e-book reader has doubled over the past six months, outpacing the growth of tablets, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.

E-reader ownership climbed to 12 percent in May from 6 percent last November, marking the first time that the adoption of these devices in the U.S. has reached the double digits. Over the same period, growth in tablet ownership slowed a bit following a previous surge. In May, 8 percent of the adults surveyed by Pew said they owned a tablet, compared with 7 percent in January and 5 percent last November.

The survey, released yesterday, also found some overlap in ownership among the two types of devices: 3 percent own both an e-reader and a tablet. Meanwhile, 9 percent own just an e-reader, such as the Amazon Kindle or the Barnes & Noble Nook. And 5 percent own just a tablet, such as the Apple iPad or the Motorola Xoom.

Drilling down, Hispanic adults, people under age 65, college graduates, and those with household incomes of at least $75,000 were the most likely to own e-book readers. Parents were also more apt to have an e-reader compared with non-parents. Pew found similar results for tablet owners, though parents were no more likely than non-parents to own a tablet.

At this point, e-book readers and tablets are still low on the list of tech gadgets in terms of ownership. Cell phones are the most popular device among U.S. consumers, followed by desktop and laptops, DVRs, and MP3 players, Of course, as Pew points out, e-readers and tablets have been on the market for a much shorter time than these other devices.

To compile its study, Pew hired Princeton Survey Research Associates to conduct polls via phone interviews. A total of 2,277 people, 18 years and older, were surveyed from April 26 to May 22.