Apps outnumber e-books as the most popular solitary, immersive entertainment on digital devices

In our digital world apps are 15 times more popular than e-books - at least in the Apple ecosystem.

"For three centuries, the book medium had a monopoly on solitary entertainment," says research firm Asymco in a March 3 study on e-books, apps and songs in Apple's iTunes and App Store. "The download data shows how quickly new media displace the old."

During a March 3 press event held to unveil the second generation iPad, Apple announced that its e-book store had served 100 million e-books to readers during the first 11 months of opening.

While 100 million e-book downloads seems like an extraordinarily large figure, especially after Steve Jobs's famous "people don't read anymore" quote, the number of e-book downloads pales in comparison to music and application downloads.

At the same point in time, 11 months after launch, consumers had already downloaded five times as many songs and 15 times as many apps in Apple's iTunes and App Store.

The study doesn't provide a conclusive picture of people's solitary, immersive entertainment choices as it only analyzes the number of e-books, music and apps sold within Apple's ecosystem, not how often they interact with the books, music or apps.

According to the Association of American Publishers, e-book sales grew by 164.8 percent in the period from December 2009 to December 2010. E-book sales totaled $166.9 million for the year.

In November 2010, global consulting firm Bain & Company predicted that up to 20 percent of the book-reading public will invest in a digital reader, tablet or other electronic device by 2015.

During the same year, up to 25 percent of books will be sold in a digital format, says Bain & Company, compared to just 5 percent in 2010.

Around the globe, people are being encouraged to start reading a book on a digital device from March 6-12 as part of the annual Read an E-book Week. More information and free books can be downloaded from the Read an E-book Week website.

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