Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kindle Owner Demographics

 Survey Results on Kindle Owner Demographics: 

56%-42% Tilt Toward Women 

37% Aged 55 and Older, 75% 35 and up! 

40% of all Kindle users are 40-59 years of age

Kindle owners -- especially those who read a lot on their Kindles -- tend to be older and more female than many gadgets-owners, but there are also a lot of kids reading ebooks on those same Kindles.

* 55.9% identified themselves as female, and 42% as male.

* Less than 0.5% are under 25, compared with 38.7% aged 35-54 and 37% aged 55 or older

* Just over 4% said they were not U.S. residents, a significant number which of course reflects the growth of the international Kindle in recent months

* Among the 412 respondents who became Kindle owners since December 2009, twice as many (8.2%) said they were not U.S. residents

So, it's no surprise that Kindle owners tend to be mature women. Although it is common to think of men, and of younger people, as being more likely to own gadgets, we have been saying all alone that the Kindle is a special kind of gadget, purpose-built for readers rather than gadget heads.

I suspect that the gender and age breakdown in terms of actual ownership of a Kindle may be spread more evenly, but there is a difference between Kindle ownership and active or voracious reading of Kindle content. Regardless of gender or age, the people most likely to be socially engaged enough in the process to participate in our survey are probably more likely to be active and voracious readers of Kindle content than the broader population of Kindle owners, some small number of whom may have cut way back on their Kindle use since making an initial novelty purchase.

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None of this is intended to undercut the significance of the views expressed by Kindle owners in the survey, but it does seem fair to suggest more or less hypothetically that if, say, the gender breakdown among all who purchase and own a Kindle is roughly 50-50, I should not be the least bit surprised if the statistical breakdown of gender for anyone buying a Kindle book, or for those reading on the Kindle is more along the lines of 57-43 favoring women.

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And mature women at that.

At first it may seem like contradictory information, in light of the age breakdown noted above, that 5 of the top 57 bestsellers in the Kindle Store right now are the titles included in popular tweener author Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, which among other things happens to by my 11-year-old son Danny's favorite fiction series.

Given that none of the 5 titles is currently free, this really means that the 5 titles are all among the top 20 non-free titles in the Kindle Store, which amounts to bestseller list hegemony similar to that experienced by vampire-fiction novelist Stephanie Meyer back in 2008-2009.

But rather than being a contradiction, it points us to an interesting new trend in the way people are using their Kindles:

The Kindle is gradually becoming more and more of a family, or household, reading platform.

A 12-year-old may be reading the latest Percy Jackson saga before or after school, then turning the Kindle over to his Mom when she gets home so she can finish reading the latest from Elizabeth Gilbert or Kristin Hannah.

If both parties happen to have overlapping time available for reading, there's always the possibility of switching to reading on another device with the Kindle for iPhone/iPod Touch/PC/Blackberry Apps. Occasionally, of course, multiple members of the same household or Kindle-sharing group will read the same books, newspapers, magazines, or blogs, and save on the price just as they would with a print edition. And all of this will work in just about any household regardless of how you define "family."

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