updated 03:25 pm EST, Tue November 30, 2010
ChangeWave says iPad, Kindle gaps narrowing
The gap between iPad and Kindle ownership is closing fast not just in ownership but in the way owners actually use their devices, ChangeWave found today. Of its current pool of respondents, 32 percent claimed in November to have an iPad as their e-reader. The portion was still lower than Amazon's 47 percent but is much closer than in August, when 62 percent claimed to use a Kindle and just 16 percent pointed to their iPads.
Reading habits weren't tracked over time but are now closer than once thought on launch. As expected, 93 percent of Kindle owners use theirs for e-books, but an unusually high 76 percent of tracked iPad owners do the same.
Trouble may also be looming for Amazon in periodicals, the study found: no more than 11 percent of Kindle owners were using theirs for magazines, newspapers or blogs, but between 36 percent and 51 percent of iPad owners were actively using theirs for the same purposes. Amazon has touted an edge in automatic downloads but lacks the color screen, touch input or other features that have made iPad periodicals relatively popular even in their early stages.
Publishers like News Corp and Virgin have been producing iPad-oriented magazines while often sidestepping the Kindle entirely.
Many iPad owners were also noticeably happier. About 75 percent of iPad owners were "very satisfied," but only 54 percent of Kindle owners were similarly confident. Very few were unsatisfied, but the bias left significantly more Kindle users unhappy about some aspects of their experience.
Apple might also benefit as a supporter of e-reading in the near future, the study found. Of those ready to buy in the next 90 days, 42 percent picked the iPad while only 33 percent were planning to get a Kindle. Just four percent or less planned to get an alternative such as a Nook.
The study covered 2,800 users and isn't entirely reflective of the market but could signal a change away from grayscale e-readers like the Kindle even at the expense of traditional advantages, such as the lack of eyestrain or the long battery life. Amazon has insisted it doesn't need to compete because of its singular focus, but many of those who buy iPads say they will skip getting a separate e-reader since the iPad accomplishes all the same goals.