According to the latest Nielsen data, 61 percent of e-reader owners are female, up from 46 percent this time last year. Fifty-seven percent of tablet owners are men, also slightly up, and smartphones are evenly split. What does it all mean? All I know is that I love my Kindle.
GigaOM asks, "Does this confirm that women like book reading more, as research suggests, or do they just prefer a lighter device or perhaps a simpler, single-purpose gadget? And do guys just want more horsepower and complexity, or do they prefer more games?" Another contributing factor: one of the fastest-growing sectors in digital reading is romance, which is overwhelmingly read by women.
Personally, I can testify to the utility of the single-purpose gadget, not because I'm all confused by the crazy options on my iPhone, but because as someone who professionally multitasks a lot of media consumption and production, my attention span can use some external assistance. I do not want to check Twitter when I'm reading (although most times I do read is underground anyway). I sprang for a Kindle six months ago, after borrowing one for a vacation and finally reading the too-heavy-for-the-subway Freedom.
Best of all from my perspective, all of the fat classics I've been meaning to read (elided by my foreign language/comp-lit theory orientation/alternative high school background) are almost entirely free. In the past six months, I've read Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda, The Age Of Innocence, plus several Shakespeare plays (The Tempest, Macbeth, King Lear) and The Help, The Nine, Ta-Nehisi Coates' awesome memoir The Beautiful Struggle, The Tiger's Wife, half of The Invention Of Brownstone Brooklyn, and The Means Of Reproduction. (Currently 49% through Pride & Prejudice, which I'm aware is embarrassingly overdue.) This is already constitutes way more actual books than I read last year.
I feel like this has tangibly made my life better, time better spent than what I would have done with it if I didn't have an e-reader, though I don't know if there's anything intrinsically female about it.