Thursday, March 06, 2014

Spending on Reading Material

The average household spent $109 on reading material in 2012, up slightly from the $105 spent in 2010 after adjusting for inflation. What contributed to this boost in spending on reading material after the steep 46 percent decline between 2000 and 2010? Digital book readers, according to a Demo Memo analysis of unpublished detailed spending data from the federal government's Consumer Expenditure Survey.

During an average quarter of 2012, nearly 2 percent of households bought a digital book reader. While that doesn't sound like much, it was a higher rate of purchasing than for personal digital audio players (such as iPods) and nearly as high a rate as for online gaming services. The result was a boost in spending on the overall reading category despite ongoing declines in spending on books, newspapers, and magazines.

The introduction of digital book readers explains why average household spending on reading material grew especially strongly among householders under age 55 during the 2010-to-2012 time period...

Percent change in average household spending on reading material, 2010-12 (in 2012 dollars)
Under age 25: 7.2%
Aged 25 to 34: 12.1%
Aged 35 to 44: 10.4%
Aged 45 to 54: 7.8%
Aged 55 to 64: 0.3%
Aged 65-plus: -4.4%

Now that so many more Americans own digital book readers, perhaps spending on books will begin to grow in the years ahead.

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