View Full Version : Poll: Age of People who Read E-Books


blunty
03-12-2008, 12:23 PM
I thought it would be quite interesting to find out the average age range of people reading e-books. I am late 40s and only recently started, but like a mixture of p-books and e-books.

Are the young readers being captured? Would we trust our 6 year old or younger children with our 450 iliad (no Kindle or Sony reader in UK yet)? Is it older readers with more disposable income or 20 somethings with time/space constraints but no fear of technology.

Perhaps a topic for a survey. I could not find much from searching the forum but if this has already been covered apologies, and point me to the posts please.

BruceW
03-12-2008, 01:18 PM
I am in my late, boy I hat e to say this, 40s. My niece and nephew like to borrow my 500. They are both in their early teens

NatCh
03-12-2008, 01:23 PM
I'm in the second half of my 30's.

I can add a poll to this thread for you if you like, just let me know what the questions should be. :nice:

RWood
03-12-2008, 01:42 PM
ANd I'm about 20 years older than that young whipper-snapper from Texas called NatCh.

vivaldirules
03-12-2008, 01:48 PM
Welcome, blunty. Excellent question about age demographics. I'm surprised we haven't had a poll for that already. I bought my Sony for my 50th birthday present. I had wanted a digital book reader for the past decade and almost bought a Franklin when I was poorer but never did.

mazzeltjes
03-12-2008, 01:58 PM
49
and loving every moment
of the e-reader revolution

badgoodDeb
03-12-2008, 02:35 PM
Yeah, we need a poll. I'd suggest a block for every 5 years of age, but I'll let the thread author officially request.

I started reading books on a Palm at least 10 years ago. I would have been 40. Now the pda is hard on my eyes, so I bought a Kindle. So, do you want our current age, or when we started e-reading? Another question to decide before we start the poll. :)

volwrath
03-12-2008, 06:20 PM
Im 39 and I imagine most of the ereaders will be 30+, because I dont think kids read anymore!

binzer
03-12-2008, 08:12 PM
I turn 23 this month and am now worried that you guys are going to start calling me a "young whippersnapper" while you shake your canes at me.

I'm jk of course, you guys are all still plenty young, but I'm surprised there's not more young adults interested in this kind of thing.

llasram
03-12-2008, 08:24 PM
I turn 23 this month and am now worried that you guys are going to start calling me a "young whippersnapper" while you shake your canes at me.

I'm jk of course, you guys are all still plenty young, but I'm surprised there's not more young adults interested in this kind of thing.

Well, mid-twenties here, and another surprisee. I thought you old fogies (Joking!) would be the ones most attached to your paper books. Hardly a statistical sample so far, but perhaps the age distribution here is more skewed along the lines of readers-by-age than along the lines of technophiles-by-age.

Marinerrr
03-12-2008, 08:51 PM
I'm in my early 40s, but started reading ebooks on an Apple Newton (in 1993), moved to a Treo 90 (PalmOS), and just this year picked up a Sony PRS-505. I miss the backlight of the Treo, but the clarity and screen size of the Sony (eInk) is fabulous.

Kind regards,
Marinerrr

tompe
03-12-2008, 08:56 PM
I am also in my early 40s and i started really reading ebooks when I bought my Cybook half a year ago. It was a combination of that I like gadgets and that I am running out of space for my pbooks that got me started.

Nate the great
03-12-2008, 08:57 PM
I couldn't figure out how to add a poll to an existing thread, so I started a new thread.

zelda_pinwheel
03-12-2008, 09:00 PM
well, i'm 34 and just got my first device, but i've always read a lot and always loved gadgets as well... which is not to say that i buy all of them.

i have a friend who is about 10 years older than me who would never consider reading on a device, but he's refractary to all technology (which is ironic, since he's a developper), and doesn't even have a cell phone. another friend the same age as him was fascinated, as was a friend in her early 20's.

my father (who is 54) wholeheartedly approves of the idea of a device as a *complement* to paper books, for the convenience (among others) of having a whole library at your disposal in so small an object. he also loves to read and is mightily entranced by gadgets in general. however he would never get rid of all his books, since some of them he loves as objects rather than (or in addition to) for their content. he sometimes buys used books in thrift stores just because he likes the cover, or the paper, or the font...

as others have mentioned, i'm not sure age is necessarily the deciding factor.

Nate the great
03-12-2008, 09:01 PM
Oh, good. It worked.

bsandersen
03-12-2008, 10:19 PM
I started making Newton books (and writing other Newton software) immediately after its release at the Boston MacWorld and the general availability of the Newton Developer Kit. This was back in the early to mid-1990's. (Wow: 15 years ago?!)

When I first spotted this poll I thought, "the ages represented will probably trend low." Then, the more I thought about it, the ages should actually trend _high_. One of the benefits of electronic books is the ability to increase the font size of the type in the book. I routinely read with the largest type size on my PRS-505. As eyes age and prespiopia begins to affect we aging baby-boomers the larger type brings welcome relief. No need to ditch our vanity and buy large print books; just get the electronic version and select the large typeface! I wonder when the AARP crowd will catch on to that trick?!

-- Scott (Acton, MA)

JSWolf
03-12-2008, 10:30 PM
I am 44. I started reading LIT format eBooks on the computer once I figured I could remove the DRM and also read them on the laptop as well as my desktop without having to deal with DRM. I was reading Star Trek eBook on the computer mainly. The ones I could not get from the library. But now I just use my 505 for eBooks.

hidalgo1301
03-12-2008, 10:55 PM
I'm 34 and I really enjoy the freedom that the PRS has given. I read sci-fi, any suggestions for some good free content. Thanks.

binzer
03-12-2008, 11:52 PM
well there may be a wide range of ages, but I think it's safe to say we're all a little nerdy.

Dave Berk
03-13-2008, 01:03 AM
Middle twenties here as well. Started reading on the computer when the screen was green... (only half joking)
As a matter of fact I expected most of the people here to be above the 30 line. Don't know why I got that impression. Probably from the quality of writing on the forum and the moderate use of acronyms... But I enjoy seeing some other young whipper-snappers here who likes to read like me. It's a nice contrast to the people I meet in real life. When I go into the library and there is only me and a couple of grandmas, and the only young people I can see is by the nonfiction section... it's really embrassing.

RobbieClarken
03-13-2008, 05:40 AM
I started reading ebooks half way through my undergraduate degree (when I was about 20) when I realised that instead of paying hundreds of dollars for textbooks, I could get them way cheaper off the internet. I bought a tablet PC to read them on and haven't paid for a textbook since. With the sort of research I am in (theoretical physics) I require the latest textbooks and the university library rarely has these. Plus the books are astronomically expensive because they are aimed at a very small customer base. So now I couldn't survive without my ebooks.

HarryT
03-13-2008, 06:01 AM
I'm in my late 40s; been reading eBooks for well over 20 years now.

HarryT
03-13-2008, 06:09 AM
I started reading ebooks half way through my undergraduate degree (when I was about 20) when I realised that instead of paying hundreds of dollars for textbooks, I could get them way cheaper off the internet. I bought a tablet PC to read them on and haven't paid for a textbook since. With the sort of research I am in (theoretical physics) I require the latest textbooks and the university library rarely has these. Plus the books are astronomically expensive because they are aimed at a very small customer base. So now I couldn't survive without my ebooks.

Where do you get these free textbooks from? I'm sure that many people would be interested in a legal source for them. Can you post a link, please?

Moonraker
03-13-2008, 08:21 AM
I'm 64 and wondering if I'm the oldest member here. I've been into IT since computers first came into the workplace in the mid 80s. I'm retired now but still get many calls from friends and relatives for help. I don't often shop at PCWorld places but when I do I often have to suppress a chuckle when listening to BS from some salesmen. Do they see only a female with white hair and assume I know nothing?

I have been an voracious reader since I was about seven. If there was nothing available to read then the cornflake packet on the breakfast table would do. My mother would scream at me to get my attention if I happened to be engrossed in a book and deaf to the world. My parents were not the sort to monitor my reading material so I still have nightmares about the Holocaust to this day.

My first ebook reader was a Franklin eBookman 901, followed by a Fujitsu 1000, Fujitsu 3400, eBookwise, iLiad and Cybook Gen3. I have loved them all in their turn.

TallMomof2
03-13-2008, 09:22 AM
Pushing 50 *real* hard. Another one who needs a bigger screen than provided by a PDA.

DaleDe
03-13-2008, 10:22 AM
I'm in my late 40s; been reading eBooks for well over 20 years now.

What were you reading them on 20 years ago? What program were you using? Portable devices for reading eBooks are barely 10 years old.

Dale

HarryT
03-13-2008, 10:42 AM
What were you reading them on 20 years ago? What program were you using? Portable devices for reading eBooks are barely 10 years old.

Dale

Dedicated bookreaders, yes. Portable devices on which one could read books, certainly not.

The first machine on which I read books was an early British PDA called the "Psion Organiser II", around 1986. See here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion_Organiser). It had a built-in BASIC programming language and people quickly wrote software to allow it to display text files.

A few years later, around 1991, the hugely influential Psion 3 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion_3) appeared, which had a clamshell design and a multitasking o/s. There was some great bookreading software available for that. I still have my Psion 3!

RobbieClarken
03-13-2008, 10:47 AM
Where do you get these free textbooks from? I'm sure that many people would be interested in a legal source for them. Can you post a link, please?

Sorry Harry, the sites I use for free ebooks don't distinguish between legal and illegal ebooks. I'm happy to point you to these sites but I don't want to violate MobileRead's rules.

HarryT
03-13-2008, 10:54 AM
Sorry Harry, the sites I use for free ebooks don't distinguish between legal and illegal ebooks. I'm happy to point you to these sites but I don't want to violate MobileRead's rules.

As an author of physics textbooks myself, I'm sure you'll appreciate my interest in the fact that they are being made available free of charge. I know that some publishers are releasing PDF versions of textbooks, but I hadn't come across them being made available without cost. How do the economics of this work? ie how does the author get paid?

DaleDe
03-13-2008, 11:06 AM
Dedicated bookreaders, yes. Portable devices on which one could read books, certainly not.

The first machine on which I read books was an early British PDA called the "Psion Organiser II", around 1986. See here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion_Organiser). It had a built-in BASIC programming language and people quickly wrote software to allow it to display text files.

A few years later, around 1991, the hugely influential Psion 3 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion_3) appeared, which had a clamshell design and a multitasking o/s. There was some great bookreading software available for that. I still have my Psion 3!

Wow, reading eBooks on a 2 line display. That is dedication. I had some early orgainizers but would never have thought of reading eBooks on them. My first real reader was a Palm III. Earlier I had read some stuff on Commodore PET and even an early laptop but not real eBooks although I did have some Bible study programs on my character screen based laptop using DOS.

Dale

RobbieClarken
03-13-2008, 11:10 AM
As an author of physics textbooks myself, I'm sure you'll appreciate my interest in the fact that they are being made available free of charge. I know that some publishers are releasing PDF versions of textbooks, but I hadn't come across them being made available without cost. How do the economics of this work? ie how does the author get paid?

In some cases, like Warren Siegel's Fields (http://insti.physics.sunysb.edu/~siegel/errata.html) and Motion Mountain (http://www.motionmountain.net/) the author gets no monetary compensation. They just do it because they love the subject I guess. Mark Srednicki released his book for free online (http://www.physics.ucsb.edu/~mark/qft.html) and hopes people that like it will buy it off Amazon.

Many of the ebooks I used as textbooks are really a collection of lecture notes. I don't think you could find a similar occurrence outside of the science genre of textbooks.

But ultimately, most of my ebooks are 'pirated' (if that's the correct term).

binzer
03-13-2008, 11:13 AM
Wow, some of you guys are HARDCORE. I can't imagine reading on some of those old PDAs. When you hear people complaining about the modern devices it much be really tempting to get into the "back in the day I used to walk barefoot in the snow uphill both ways" conversation.

Out of curiosity, what kind of ebooks were available 20 years ago? Just self-made content for the most part?

DaleDe
03-13-2008, 11:16 AM
Wow, some of you guys are HARDCORE. I can't imagine reading on some of those old PDAs. When you hear people complaining about the modern devices it much be really tempting to get into the "back in the day I used to walk barefoot in the snow uphill both ways" conversation.

Out of curiosity, what kind of ebooks were available 20 years ago? Just self-made content for the most part?

Gutenberg started in 1971.

Dale

HarryT
03-13-2008, 11:20 AM
Wow, some of you guys are HARDCORE. I can't imagine reading on some of those old PDAs.

We thought we were being "cutting edge" at the time, I'll tell you :). No, reading books on the Psion II with its 2 line, 40 character display wasn't really terrible practical, but on the Psion 3 it worked just fine.

Out of curiosity, what kind of ebooks were available 20 years ago? Just self-made content for the most part?

Quite a lot of the classics had made it onto PG by the late 80s. As Dale says, PG was almost 20 years old by 1990.

Steven Lyle Jordan
03-13-2008, 11:46 AM
I thought you old fogies (Joking!) would be the ones most attached to your paper books. Hardly a statistical sample so far, but perhaps the age distribution here is more skewed along the lines of readers-by-age than along the lines of technophiles-by-age.

As one of the fogies (not joking), I'd say that a lot depends on the way you were raised, and the times.

I, for instance, was raised during the Apollo era 60s... was into science fiction in my early teens (watched a few of the original Star Treks the night they were aired, if my parents let me stay up)... and played with tech-related toys like 150-in-1 electronics kits from Radio Shack. So I was prepped for electronic devices at an early age.

As I got older, I learned frugality, and saw the value of using electronic devices to replace older, less efficient tools and processes. So I was using my first PDAs to write my first novel, in the early 90s.

For my first e-books I was getting ahold of text-based classics like War of the Worlds, purchased at computer stores and conventions, and downloading them to read on my Casio Zoomer.

tsgreer
03-13-2008, 12:11 PM
I'm 39 years old and have been reading e-books for about 4 years now.

My girlfriend is 24 years old and not techie at all, but I got her into reading ebooks, and she reads on my older Sony Reader 500.

My son is 17 years old and he also reads ebooks on my other older Sony Reader 500. So my whole house is e-book compliant! As a child of the 80's, I have always been a fan of sci-fi. Ooh the early 80's was great for sci-fi books! Oddly enough though, I never even thought of e-books until I got the idea that maybe I could try reading a book on an old palm about 4 years ago.

I went online to do some research, found the ereader website, loaded onto my old palm and started reading. Now I'm on a Kindle and there's no turning back. :)

maggotb0y
03-13-2008, 12:20 PM
Well, I'm 36 now and read almost exclusively on my Sony reader. My first ebook reading was on the first version of Tealdoc on a Palm II, but I would simply load a book that I was reading on paper onto the device for moments when I had extra time but not my book. It wasn't till my Sony 500 that I started reading ebooks cover to cover (even today I'll sometimes load a book I'm reading on my sony onto my blackberry, just in case).

Also, I kept my 500 when I upgraded and this device is shared among my wife, 10 year old daughter and 8 year old son (they started at 9 and 7 i guess). However, I only let them read from the reader in the house- they don't get to carry it around.

binzer
03-13-2008, 12:24 PM
So I was using my first PDAs to write my first novel, in the early 90s.


Ok wait. You WROTE a novel on a PDA? I'm pretty sure that makes you officially crazy or crazily devoted, but either way there's some crazy involved!

The GreatGonzo
03-13-2008, 12:33 PM
Just turned 41 ... saw the first Indiana Jones movie when I was 14 and just found out I will be watching the next one through bifocals... aaargh ....

Never enjoyed prolongued reading on any kind of backlit screen much, so it wasn't until e-ink that I got really, really interested in the whole e-book thing.
Though somebody let me play with a Newton once and I almost caved in...

Now if only more use was made of the fact that text on e-ink CAN look like a printed page; right now, it feels as if the makers of e-books are still stuck making books for devices from ten years ago.

Imperfect and incomplete as it is though, I couldn't imagine living without my Iliad now.

tsgreer
03-13-2008, 12:34 PM
We thought we were being "cutting edge" at the time, I'll tell you :). No, reading books on the Psion II with its 2 line, 40 character display wasn't really terrible practical, but on the Psion 3 it worked just fine...

Wow! I've never even seen a Psion until your wikipedia link. Ok, that was some serious e-book devotion to read on one of those. :rohard:

I read on an old Palm III (bought for $5 on ebay) and I thought that was hardcore. Geesh!

DaleDe
03-13-2008, 12:39 PM
Quite a lot of the classics had made it onto PG by the late 80s. As Dale says, PG was almost 20 years old by 1990.

I just found an old CD called the Complete Bookshop from 1993. It contains Classics, Poetry, Humor, Cookbooks, America's Founding Documents, Novels, history, Short Stories, Home Improvement, Computer Instruction and more! or so says the cover. It was made by a company called Chestnut Shareware out of Cambridge, MA.

Also included were heath and nutrition guides, drink mixing, business resource, dictionaries and thesauruses. It was great for searching and reference in its time. It was a DOS CD that claimed compatibility with Windows. A reader was included.

Dale

spirits
03-13-2008, 12:48 PM
I'm 24. One of the things that may stop us from purchasing is the price of the reader. That being said, I don't see anyone around my age without an at least $200-$400 ipod with them. Really just depends on our desire for it. Sony Playstation 3 during the first 2 month of launch costs $699CAD and those who want it were able to afford it.

bookwormfjl
03-13-2008, 01:08 PM
I am 55 and started reading ebooks and magazine articles in PDF format six years ago on a PC. Got my 1st ebook reader three (?) years ago--an Ebookwise 1150! :bookworm:

binzer
03-13-2008, 01:12 PM
I'm 24. One of the things that may stop us from purchasing is the price of the reader. That being said, I don't see anyone around my age without an at least $200-$400 ipod with them. Really just depends on our desire for it. Sony Playstation 3 during the first 2 month of launch costs $699CAD and those who want it were able to afford it.

I am proud to say I don't own an ipod! That being said, I do own a ps3 (as well as a wii, 360, DS and psp) but I think I will value my Cybook the most.

It actually sort of makes me mad when people complain about the supposedly absurd prices of e-ink readers. It's just the way it usually is with new technology. Do you guys remember how expensive terrible laptops used to be? At any rate, I think books are one of the greatest pleasures and most valuable resources on the planet, so I can't see why you WOULDN'T want to carry around hundreds of them at one time. Personally I think hiring a servant to follow me 24/7 carrying all my books would be too expensive (not to mention socially awkward) so a Cybook seems like a good alternative :P

(Sorry to go on an off-topic rant, but I'm recently annoyed by some Fantasy book forums where people are terribly resistant to ebooks. It makes no sense!)

Anthuzad
03-13-2008, 01:54 PM
20 here, and I bought the thing with my own money too ...

I just happened to glance over an article on the Sony 505 and since I'm an avid English reader (born German) eBooks are my redemption. Living in a rural area doesn't make for a wide choice of English books and ordering every book and waiting for one or two weeks for it to arrive is annoying.

revmike
03-13-2008, 02:21 PM
I started reading ebooks on a palm 610c and then moved to a 760c. Since I'm 54 and that screen just got to be too small I started reading them on my computer. I was also running out of shelf space in my home office for the numerous paperbacks and hardcover books that I had purchased over the years. Just about a month ago I saw the kindle on the amazon site and it led me to the sony 505 and I could not be more happier.

tsgreer
03-13-2008, 02:39 PM
I am proud to say I don't own an ipod! That being said, I do own a ps3 (as well as a wii, 360, DS and psp) but I think I will value my Cybook the most.

It actually sort of makes me mad when people complain about the supposedly absurd prices of e-ink readers. It's just the way it usually is with new technology. Do you guys remember how expensive terrible laptops used to be? At any rate, I think books are one of the greatest pleasures and most valuable resources on the planet, so I can't see why you WOULDN'T want to carry around hundreds of them at one time. Personally I think hiring a servant to follow me 24/7 carrying all my books would be too expensive (not to mention socially awkward) so a Cybook seems like a good alternative :P

(Sorry to go on an off-topic rant, but I'm recently annoyed by some Fantasy book forums where people are terribly resistant to ebooks. It makes no sense!)

Totally with you. I mean, didn't the old Palm III cost $400 when it was new. Of course, you have to wonder if it was worth $400. I mean, you can get them for $5 on ebay now.

And I know about people being terribly resistant to e-books.--actually resistant to technology in general. I just got into an argument with a co-worker who refused to try a digital camera and wouldn't believe they are better quality. She's not a photographer or anything,I mean, she has a cheap $25 film camera bought at Wal-mart. But she just refuses to "fall for" the digital camera thing--"it's just a fad."

Of course it is her choice, and I have no right to tell her what is right, but man, that attitude drives me crazy. She also can't figure out how to print from Microsoft Word and is always wanting help--and starts saying that she misses her typewriter. She's only 50!! Oh my....

Ok, sorry for the rant. Back on topic...:)

Wilydragon
03-13-2008, 02:42 PM
I'm looking back at 65, started reading ebooks on an IPAQ in 96, moved to a Palm PDA, then a Treo, a eBookwise 1150 was next, now using a Sony 505.

JohnnyD
03-13-2008, 02:59 PM
I'm 43 and have been reading e-books from the time Baen started to make them :)

My first device was a Palm V, followed by a Palm Tungsten. Last february I was finally able to buy an e-ink reader in a "normal" way (meaning from a webshop based in The Netherlands, my home country): my Cybook Gen3!

Since then it has been gradually going downhill: I hardly have any time to eat, work or sleep, there is so much reading to be done! :D

dcalder
03-13-2008, 03:11 PM
I answered the poll based on when I started reading "ebooks" rather than when I started reading electronic fiction in general. That age would go back another, oh, a good eighteen years or so, to my university days when I discovered the Usenet newsgroups including groups like rec.arts.anime.creative and a number of other fanfiction groups in the alt hierarchy. I remember spending hours in the computer lab downloading and saving files en masse to floppy disk so that I could read them on my computer back in the dorm room.

JAcheson
03-13-2008, 03:20 PM
My first serious ebook reading happened after I got my first Palm Pilot in 1997. Robert Louis Stevenson's The Silverado Squatters.

I had read text files before then, online fanfic and the like, but nothing book-length.

I'm not surprised to see this poll trending young, as portable devices suitable for reading ebooks are fairly new. And most people didn't have internet access until sometime in the 90's.

ottocrat
03-13-2008, 03:23 PM
I've voted '25-29' as the question asked was "when did you start reading e-books?" but this was, ahem, over a decade ago. I think one has to distinguish between people who read e-books (which I think will include many, MANY younger people who will read e-books on their phones) and those who have bought dedicated e-book readers (who I think will be older, simply because the d*mn things are so expensive).

I don't agree with the poster who says that kids don't read any more. My kids are voracious readers, just as I was at their age; and there seems to be no shortage of discussion on the net about books, involving people of all ages.

Amalthia
03-13-2008, 03:36 PM
I started reading ebooks in college when I was 18 and got my first Sony ebook reader at 27. Um i'm 28 so I guess I fall into the 20s crowd. It also annoys me when people say kids don't read because I was reading Stephen King novels when I was 11. (not going to talk about the quality of his writing but the point was The Stand unabridged was a long book for an 11 year old) And well my passion for reading never died out and I don't see why paying 400 for an ipod is much different from spending 300-400 on a ebook reader? It just depresses me that listening to music seems to be more valued than reading.

but apparently there are a lot of avid young readers out and about. :)

My grandfather loves to read now and never had the time when he was working full time so I guess anyone could learn to love to read regardless of age. As for the Sony PRS-505he looked very interested in getting one himself once I mentioned you can adjust font size. :)

AMacD
03-13-2008, 06:17 PM
I will be 76 in another 6 weeks or so. I am on my second reader, Palm T|X first and now a Kindle.

spirits
03-13-2008, 07:37 PM
One thing I have to point out about this poll is the fact that people here are those who:
- goes online regularly (since they found this poll so soon to vote)
- habitually research on what they purchase
- able to use the computer
- can speak English (Although I have to say that non-English speaker wouldn't purchase an English reader in the first place.)
- were exposed to eink reader through specific advertisement (most of the people I know do not know of such thing as an eink reader, and I think Sony did a really bad job at promoting this technology)

TommyCooper
03-13-2008, 10:23 PM
I'm 54 and can quite honestly say that ebooks have re-energised my interest in reading. I started reading on my computer a few years back, then got a Rocket reader [which I still have and use], then a CyBook first-generation. I'm now trying out an Asus EEE PC, but will probably also get an e-ink reader shortly. I love the portability of ebooks and the ability to choose your own font and font size - very important when your peepers start to fade. In the beginning was the word, but the word wasn't very widely spread so I was mighty glad when websites like Fictionwise started to show up.

What still excites me is that although I have shelves groaning under the weight of pulped up trees, I could fit all of those texts and many thousands more on a single disk which I could carry around and read whenever I want - blimey :eek:

Technology for it's own sake never really interests me, but ebooks and their associated technology -there's something worth having. Knowledge and pleasure in abundance whenever you want and wherever you are - without being hindered by the incumberance of the dead, sacrificial weight of once beautiful living organisms.

Tommy

Dan de V
03-14-2008, 12:51 AM
I started reading e-books when I was 23 and my company gave me a palm IIIi. I subscribed to e-reader (then peanut press) and moved on to a Palm Tungsten.

Bought a Symbian phone in 2006 and was disgusted to find e-reader didn't support it so I swapped to mobipocket.

I have always been a voracious reader and now at 32 I still read all the time and love the fact that I have a library of 50+ books on my phone available at any given instant to read.

As an engineer who has travelled the world for the last 10 years I appreciate a new book that I can download when there are no english bookshops or mail from amazon available.

The eye strain when reading from a phone can be a bit of pain so thinking about complementing it with an e-ink reader. However, I still think the e-ink readers have a ways to go before I buy one. I am waiting for more choice, better design and more functionality / flexibility.

blunty
03-14-2008, 07:14 AM
Thanks for putting the Poll on, it looks so far that money might have been quite significant factor as most started when they were post college and presumably earning. And, yes quite a few geeks.
As for reading on two line screen, has anybody tried the I-cue on mobiles that can scroll one line like a ticker, or flash a word at a time. Takes some getting used to but I found I could handle the ticker format.

Steven Lyle Jordan
03-14-2008, 09:18 AM
Ok wait. You WROTE a novel on a PDA? I'm pretty sure that makes you officially crazy or crazily devoted, but either way there's some crazy involved!

Oh, yeah. Trying to write a chapter or two on the on-screen keyboard of a Casio Zoomer (actually the rebranded Radio Shack version, same thing), is an experience that I'd only recommend to people who like wrist cramps, eye fatigue and a fifty-foot radius between you and any single girl in the area!

(For the record: It's chapters 2 and 3 of The Onuissance Cells. :D The rest of the original text was written on an Amiga 1000!)

On the other hand, due to its size it was one of the larger on-screen keyboards you've ever seen, and for awhile, I was a demon on it... I could stylus-type almost as fast as I could write longhand!

Over the years, I have continued to do edits of any novels I was working on during a vacation (cause it's fun!), and either I would limit myself to laptop work, or I'd port the work into my PDA and mess with it while hanging on the beach.

ottocrat
03-14-2008, 10:59 AM
I believe Guy Gavriel Kay wrote the first novel in his Fionavar Tapestry on a Psion Series 3. Or was it Steven Erikson? A Canadian in London anyway. :)

zelda_pinwheel
03-14-2008, 12:20 PM
Personally I think hiring a servant to follow me 24/7 carrying all my books would be too expensive (not to mention socially awkward) so a Cybook seems like a good alternative :P

yes, that was what made up my mind as well... :p

Oh, yeah. Trying to write a chapter or two on the on-screen keyboard of a Casio Zoomer (actually the rebranded Radio Shack version, same thing), is an experience that I'd only recommend to people who like wrist cramps, eye fatigue and a fifty-foot radius between you and any single girl in the area!

oh my, you are crazy, just to think about it makes my eyes start rolling around in different directions.

Steven Lyle Jordan
03-14-2008, 12:51 PM
oh my, you are crazy, just to think about it makes my eyes start rolling around in different directions.

Sure, I remember you now... you were the one in the blue bikini, in the middle of that bunch of girls huddling together, pointing at me and giggling (guys remember these things)...

:shrug: What can I say? I was dedicated to my craft.

binzer
03-14-2008, 01:35 PM
I guess it's true that writers are weird :D

Steven Lyle Jordan
03-14-2008, 01:54 PM
Hey! I resemble that remark!

yvanleterrible
03-14-2008, 03:09 PM
Well... it's true if you start thinking about the pay to wortime ratio.:wacko:

spirits
03-14-2008, 07:13 PM
Well... it's true if you start thinking about the pay to wortime ratio.:wacko:

ohhhhhhhh, he/she said it!

zelda_pinwheel
03-14-2008, 07:30 PM
Sure, I remember you now... you were the one in the blue bikini, in the middle of that bunch of girls huddling together, pointing at me and giggling (guys remember these things)...

clearly you need glasses after all that typing on miniscule screens... look where we're having this conversation (and what the conversation is about), do you seriously think i was in the "pointing and giggling" group back in the day ? in fact, i probably was the one who noticed a grammatical error walking past you and pointed it out. for your own good, mind you ; out of the sheer goodness and public-mindedness of my heart.

allen.gotwald
03-14-2008, 08:59 PM
As James Whitcomb Riley would say, I'm just this side of 40.

Elsi
03-14-2008, 09:36 PM
ANd I'm about 20 years older than that young whipper-snapper from Texas called NatCh. Me too, but I'm also in Texas!

Steven Lyle Jordan
03-15-2008, 11:17 AM
clearly you need glasses after all that typing on miniscule screens... look where we're having this conversation (and what the conversation is about), do you seriously think i was in the "pointing and giggling" group back in the day ? in fact, i probably was the one who noticed a grammatical error walking past you and pointed it out. for your own good, mind you ; out of the sheer goodness and public-mindedness of my heart.

Riiight. And then you went back to your friends and giggled!

(They all giggled... they wouldn't stop giggling... dammit, why won't they stop giggling?!?...:mad: )

H-haaugh...

Okay, I'm back. :rolleyes:

Yeah, those days demonstrate how far we've come. Back then, if I wanted to work on a document, I first had to convert it to a text file, then port it over to the PDA to work on. And vice versa. There was no Pocket Word, nor any convenient sync-conversion apps, for those first products. It made text editing that much more trouble, especially if any unusual formatting was involved.

Same thing with most e-books: Any fancy fonts or formatting had to be sacrificed in order to get it into the PDA to read. No wonder so few people went for those PDAs back then... the ones that pretty much formed up the market behind them were the Palms and other basic organizer units.

vivaldirules
03-15-2008, 02:08 PM
Great poll. I really had the impression of a bimodal distribution of old folks and young ones and yet that's clearly not the case.

Basqueman
03-15-2008, 05:24 PM
I'm 46. I met an "older guy" on the Metrolink Train in Los Angeles. He's the one that turned me on to ebook readers. I bought a Sony PRS-505 shortly after I talked to him.

I love carrying a small library around with me wherever I go! Thats the appeal for me. My wife turns her nose up at the thing...She says she needs to "smell the book pages" when she reads.....hmmm.

yvanleterrible
03-16-2008, 11:18 AM
oops sorry, wrong command

yvanleterrible
03-16-2008, 11:19 AM
Great poll. I really had the impression of a bimodal distribution of old folks and young ones and yet that's clearly not the case.Absolutely!
There's a little dip below twenty but I figure that might be because ereaders are, for the moment, quite expensive. The bump in the over thirties really marks the fact that these generations were brought up with reading as a form of entertainment. But that's my assessment.

The only thing that bothers me about the results is the fact that the ebook is so young and recent. I suspect figures would change drastically as time goes by.:bookworm:

spirits
03-16-2008, 01:39 PM
Absolutely!
There's a little dip below twenty but I figure that might be because ereaders are, for the moment, quite expensive. The bump in the over thirties really marks the fact that these generations were brought up with reading as a form of entertainment. But that's my assessment.

The only thing that bothers me about the results is the fact that the ebook is so young and recent. I suspect figures would change drastically as time goes by.:bookworm:

At 20-24, we're really too busy to read for entertainment. Plus I must question how these readers are advertised. Perhaps the target age range aren't students. Or perhaps students hasn't developed the habit to enjoy reading. I question the numbers mainly because I showed it to friends and they're all interested one way or another. It's true that money is an issue to some students, but the price really wouldn't stop them from getting a Sony PRS 505. For some students, one course is equivalent to 4 Amazon Kindle, and they had to take 40 courses to graduate.

carpetfish
03-17-2008, 06:16 AM
I'm 21! I bought my Sony 505 myself - figured that I'd eventually save it back if I read enough. Not to mention there are all those lovely Gutenberg texts!

I've always loved reading ever since I learned to at the age of 5 or 6...:)

I love the feel of pbooks but I've run out of space for them. The e-ink is a worthy substitute, though.

Like spirits my friends have all been interested whenever I bring it to class (I keep getting asked if they can hold it, turn pages etc :rolleyes:).

vivaldirules
03-17-2008, 08:58 AM
There's a little dip below twenty but I figure that might be because ereaders are, for the moment, quite expensive.

Yep. My daughters (both 20) will blow their precious cash on an ipod because it enables them to listen to music. But to read they don't need to buy a reader - just a book. They do sort of drool over my Sony, though.

oops sorry, wrong command

Aye, aye, commander.:pirateattack:

jnash
03-17-2008, 09:43 AM
Hello,

I am 40 and my wife bought me a Sony 500 for my birthday about 6 months ago. She did not think it was that practical but it was a gift for me no her. After she actually held one in her hand and used it she was instantly converted.

We home school our two boys and use in part a curriculum named, "The Robinson Curriculum" that is very heavy on math, reading, and writing. The curriculum is sold on about 16 CDs that contain TIF images of all the required reading. About 98% of the required reading is available already from Project Gutenberg but they have collected original scans of all the books and also gotten author/publisher permission for several works which are not yet in the public domain such as the 1915 Encyclopedia Britanica.

When the Sony 505 came out I bought that, used the special offer to get another 500 for $50 and gave the two 500's to my sons (ages 13 and 14). We loaded theirs with all the required reading by downloading all the books from ManyBooks or P.G. The books that we cannot find I create using a small program I wrote to create an HTML book from the TIF images provided in the Robinson Curriculum and then converting to LRF with the excellent LibPRS500 and HTML2LRF.

My father in-law saw the readers and immediately fell in love. For his 71st birthday this December we got him a 500 and I bought my wife a 505 for Christmas.

That makes 2 505's and 3 500's in our immediate family circle with readers in the age range 13 to 71.

-Jon

TallMomof2
03-17-2008, 12:21 PM
Of course, I read the poll wrong and answered it as my current age. I really didn't start reading ebooks until about 6 years ago. Before that I didn't own a PDA and didn't like the dedicated ebook readers available. Reading on the PC was no fun since I already spent 8+ hours a day for work staring into a screen. The main reason I purchased my PDA was to keep my calender and contacts handy but within a month was downloading and reading ebooks. What I found was that I could read fiction on a small LCD but not non-fiction. That changed with the eink readers. Probably because of the larger non-backlit screen I can absorb information far better than off a Palm. My dream is to have a larger eink device, say about 6"x10" for the screen.

DaleDe
03-17-2008, 01:57 PM
My dream is to have a larger eink device, say about 6"x10" for the screen.

The largest e-Ink device being planned at the moment is 5.6" x 8.1" (9.7" diagonal) so what you want is not in the cards as yet.

Dale

Arek_W
03-17-2008, 04:02 PM
mid 30+ but <40 RuLeZ ;)

spirits
03-17-2008, 06:14 PM
Of course, I read the poll wrong and answered it as my current age.

:eek:
Now that you mentioned it, the initial poster somehow associated ebook and reader machine together.

Most of us thought this post is for those who BOUGHT a reader device and what our current age is. Correct me if i'm wrong.

yvanleterrible
03-17-2008, 07:52 PM
Ebooks existed before readers. Take for example Microsoft Reader, it was meant to be used on a computer and is much older than ebook readers.

DaleDe
03-18-2008, 12:18 AM
Ebooks existed before readers. Take for example Microsoft Reader, it was meant to be used on a computer and is much older than ebook readers.

When did MS reader come out?

Dale

NatCh
03-18-2008, 11:00 AM
August 2000 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Reader), according to Wikipedia the mostly knowing. :D

DaleDe
03-18-2008, 11:20 AM
August 2000 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Reader), according to Wikipedia the mostly knowing. :D

which means it is almost 2 years younger than dedicated eBook Readers which is about what I thought.

Dale

NatCh
03-18-2008, 11:42 AM
Wiki also has the eBookman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_eBookMan) down for ~1999, so that would seem to be close. :yes:

DaleDe
03-18-2008, 12:37 PM
Wiki also has the eBookman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_eBookMan) down for ~1999, so that would seem to be close. :yes:

The Rocket eBook was in beta in august 1998 and shipped for Christmas of that year. It is older than the eBookMan.

dale

NatCh
03-18-2008, 01:05 PM
Ah, yes, I see that now (http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/REB_1100). The way Wiki had them listed threw me off initially. :nice:

DaleDe
03-18-2008, 01:10 PM
Ah, yes, I see that now (http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/REB_1100). The way Wiki had them listed threw me off initially. :nice:

Check the bottom of the page for a review that is actually dated in 1998. I thought it was of historical value so I added it to the page.

Dale

NatCh
03-18-2008, 01:21 PM
Heh, ten whole books, eh? That's a lot of memory! :grin:

bonteku
03-18-2008, 07:24 PM
I was 56 when I got my 1150 two years ago,I couldn't afford to buy a lot of books but then I discovered Project Gutenberg and haven't looked back since.

yvanleterrible
03-18-2008, 07:40 PM
Okay okay bad example. Got 'nother one though.
When Aldus Page Maker started to get popular on the Mac and then on the PC, it was used in prepress to help process books faster. They weren't named ebooks then but they were. If my memory serves me right it was just about 1990. Any ebook reading devices then? Asides from computers?
Next time I'll Wiki my words first.:bam:

DaleDe
03-18-2008, 09:08 PM
Okay okay bad example. Got 'nother one though.
When Aldus Page Maker started to get popular on the Mac and then on the PC, it was used in prepress to help process books faster. They weren't named ebooks then but they were. If my memory serves me right it was just about 1990. Any ebook reading devices then? Asides from computers?
Next time I'll Wiki my words first.:bam:

Well PG started in 1971 producing eBooks or at least computer text files. I have a CDROM for 1993 called Complete Bookshop with lots of books. It included a PC program to read the books which are basically text files. Certainly text files existed before eBook Readers and Psion had the ability to read eBooks as early as 1994 according to an earlier entry in this thread.

Franklin had some bookman readers (The old 2-4 line devices with a cartridge and one book built-in such as a bible.) These date back to the 1989 I believe according to the copyright on the back of one that I own.

Dale

TallMomof2
03-19-2008, 02:12 PM
Franklin had some bookman readers (The old 2-4 line devices with a cartridge and one book built-in such as a bible.) These date back to the 1989 I believe according to the copyright on the back of one that I own.

Dale

I recall seeing the Bookman in a window of a store with what I thought was a hefty pricetag back in 1989 or 1990. Plus the display and lack of titles didn't impress me. It wasn't until the device became smaller and lighter than the physical book that I became interested in ebooks. And even then the screen was what sold me on my first Palm.

DaleDe
03-19-2008, 02:22 PM
I recall seeing the Bookman in a window of a store with what I thought was a hefty pricetag back in 1989 or 1990. Plus the display and lack of titles didn't impress me. It wasn't until the device became smaller and lighter than the physical book that I became interested in ebooks. And even then the screen was what sold me on my first Palm.

I have a Palm III still. But they were not available in 1989. The first eBook reader for the Palm came out in about 1997 and started the very successful Palm DOC format. You didn't really want to try and read eBooks on a Palm in memo mode.

Dale

NatCh
03-19-2008, 03:44 PM
I remember buying my first Pilot 5000 (before they were "Palm" anything) in March of '96, the salesman said they had just come out that week. I clearly remember it because it was right after I graduated college and started my first "real" job. I've still got it around here somewhere, cracked screen and all. :nice:

'97 sounds about right for a first reading app, I remember something called "PilotDocs" (or something to that effect) that took a text file and chewed it up so that the pieces would fit the size requirements for memo files, but displayed them as a single file. At the time it was eye-opening for me.

TallMomof2
03-20-2008, 12:36 PM
I have a Palm III still. But they were not available in 1989. The first eBook reader for the Palm came out in about 1997 and started the very successful Palm DOC format. You didn't really want to try and read eBooks on a Palm in memo mode.

Dale

ITA, I didn't even transition to a Palm clone, an early Sony Clie, until 2003. That's when I felt that readability was good enough for me and available at a price point that I liked.

ninfem
04-11-2008, 06:27 AM
I work offshore and started reading ebooks when I wanted to read the second book in a series and was stuck for another week! Now I have my sony reader :)

33 years old :)

Rebecca

Lady Fitzgerald
06-15-2010, 11:12 PM
Technically, I haven't started reading e-books yet but I just ordered my first e-book reader. I have been digitizing my paperbook collection though (scanning to PDF without OCR) and hope to be finished by the end of this year (150 so far; 1000, more or less, to go).

emoorman
06-16-2010, 11:44 AM
I'm 72 and I began reading ebooks on a Palm or maybe a Sharp PDA before that back in the dim past. I forget. I don't count computers and tech manuals I read on them.

I do remember cassett tapes on a Trash-80 and 8-inch floppies that you had to mount and dismount. I did like CP/M and DRDOS and OS/2. I also remember the Xerox Star system.

gintzj
06-16-2010, 12:14 PM
in 2003 I got my first palm 2415 and started to listen to books.

Now I waiting to get "the Book" from Aguen

also I feel I am a young but I carry a Medicare Card

DaleDe
06-18-2010, 05:33 PM
ITA, I didn't even transition to a Palm clone, an early Sony Clie, until 2003. That's when I felt that readability was good enough for me and available at a price point that I liked.

I also went the clone route, my Palm III was replaced with a Handspring (I liked the increased resolution and the expansion card slot) and it was replaced with a Garmin iQue 3600 which is still a viable option. Nice screen size, nice resolution.

Dale

dmaul1114
06-18-2010, 05:40 PM
30 for me when I got my Kindle in spring 2009.

GhostHawk
06-20-2010, 09:34 AM
57 here, it was the Baen free library that got me started on the E-book revolution.
Was reading them on my computer back then. Then I discovered sources for loads of MS Reader books in *.lit format. Well it didn't take me but an hour or 2 to discover there were ways to convert those to a format I could read.

Eventually I bought my first device because reading at the computer was just not as comfortable as snuggling into a recliner. Now, I don't think i've read a paper book in 6 months. Thanks in large part to MR I've learned loads and found many great sources for books. Just downloaded 3 of the Baen CD's thanks to a link in a post here at MR. I've got loads of new stuff to read. Including 2 very prolific authors that are new to me.

In about an hour of downloading, extracting, organizing and dropping the books onto my SD card I have added at least a years worth of material to my Jetbook reader.

Interesting how it goes in cycles, and returns back to where it all started.
I suspect I'll make that route a few more times before they turn me into ashes.

Speaking of ashes, now that would be a fitting end to all those paper books.
Use them as funeral pyres! Burn me with my books when I'm dead, and hand out copies of my collection on DVD to any who want one. Yeah, now that is going out in style.

tehKitten
06-20-2010, 11:11 AM
I got my PRS-505 on the age of 15, so then I started READING them. Off course I had ebooks on my hard drive, but I didn't read them, because a normal screen is painful to my eyes when reading a whole book.

Jonimeesermann
06-20-2010, 03:59 PM
I'm 20 and maybe started reading ebook 2 years ago with mobipocket for symbian. I mostly converted my pdf to prc files.

And now I'm reading in iPod Touch and find myself reading more ebook than before. Sadly my vision is worsening, now I have to wear glasses (Maybe it's time to buy an e-ink device?)

Poppa1956
06-20-2010, 04:06 PM
Once again, my age (54 years) puts in in the minority. It won't be3 long (Lord willing and the crick don' rise) before I reach an age at which being alive puts me in the minority.



... and I'm tired of being hassled by the man!

JLYates
06-25-2010, 10:03 PM
I am 54, in a couple of months I hit the "senior citizen" mark. :)

I saw advertisments for ereaders but always felt that there was no way I would give up having my paperbacks in my hands. I wanted to feel the books in my hand.

I didn't even read the professional articles on my computer, I would print them out to read them. Just didn't feel right.

On Amazon communites a lot were talking about ereaders, mainly Kindle. About a year ago, just out of curiousity, I started to check them out. The expense of ereaders was WAY, WAY more than what I could afford at that time, though; especially when I wasn't feeling very positive about them.

Six months ago, I decided I was tired of the yo-yoing of the books I was reading, the eyestrain and the prices were going down; so, I really started to check them out. Three weeks ago, I bought my Sony 900, I am still trying to figure it out (I tend to take my time, and I am totally lost in the electronic realm) but I am already loving it. Went to ManyBooks and a couple of other sites and downloaded some free classics (around 20). :D

So, I fit the older age bracket, but total lack of any background of any type of ereading or electronic savvy. This is my first and enjoying the experience.

Janette

DaringNovelist
06-25-2010, 11:21 PM
The only problem is that you asked how old we were when we STARTED reading ebooks and many of us started ten years ago or more.

nohmi2
06-26-2010, 12:44 AM
I'm in the "Gawd, are you still alive?" category, and started reading ebooks on my HP iPaq about five years ago.

If you think of yourself as being old, then my friends, you are getting old.

I intend being the local eccentric!!!

sabredog
06-26-2010, 08:16 PM
I started reading ebooks seriously about 3 years ago, my wife about 2 years. We used our HP Ipaq PDA's to start with. I rarely pick up a paperback to read now, though I have over 500 of them.

Interestingly our 16 year old little lady (our youngest), has become an avid reader over the last two years. My wife and I were concerned she would not want to read fiction books as she has a moderate language disability, but to our more than pleasant surprise, improved her comprehension and language skills just be being a "bit of a bookworm".

I asked her if she wished to have a ereader, but no, she prefers a paperback.