Multi-function tablets have become consumers’ preferred e-reading devices, overtaking dedicated e-readers for the first time, according to the Book Industry Study Group (BISG)’s closely watched Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading survey.

ReadersResults from the first installment in Volume Four of the survey show 44 percent of e-book readers prefer a tablet, up from 37 percent in the August 2012 survey. During the same period, respondents’ choice of a dedicated e-reader fell from 49 percent to 42 percent. The study suggests the trend will continue as respondents’ intent to purchase a dedicated e-reader has dropped, while intent to purchase has remained consistent for tablets, at about 37 percent.

Like so many other changes in e-book consumption, the move toward tablets developed very rapidly,” said Angela Bole, BISG’s Deputy Executive Director. “This ongoing survey provides an opportunity for companies in the book business to stay ahead of these trends as they emerge.

Understanding device choice is important as the survey reveals further correlation between device choice and genre preference, with certain fiction genres continuing to dominate on dedicated e-readers, while some specialized nonfiction genres perform better on other devices.

For example, those who prefer dedicated e-readers were more likely to select general fiction, mystery, literary fiction, or romance as key e-book genres than users of other types of devices. How-to guides and manuals were more popular with those who prefer reading e-books on personal computers. Consumers who prefer e-reading via smartphones were more likely to read travel books than either tablet or dedicated e-reader users.

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Photo by Zak Mensah