Old people love Kindle

Citing this Amazon forum, Publishers Lunch Deluxe reports:

We extracted about 75 percent of the responses on age (representing about
700 responses, taking equally from the earliest and most recent postings,
which show very similar age distributions). Per John Makinson's quip at an
LBF panel, over half of reporting Kindle owners are 50 or older, and 70
percent are 40 or older. Here is the full age bracket distribution:

0 – 19: 5%
20 – 29: 10%
30 – 39: 15%
40 – 49: 19.5%
50 – 59: 23%
60 – 69: 19.5%
70 – 79: 6%
80+: 2%

The comments themselves are as illuminating as the numbers. So many users
said they like Kindle because they suffer from some form of arthritis that
multiple posters indicate that they do or do not have arthritis as a matter
of course. A variety of other impairments, from weakening eyes and carpal-tunnel-like
syndromes to more exotic disabilities dominate the purchase rationales of
these posters. Which in turn explains Amazon's pseudo-statistical case that
e-book purchases are incremental/additive, rather than cannibalistic of
their print sales. Countless people report being able to read much more
with Kindle because it overcomes physical obstacles or limitations that had
made reading difficult for them previously.

I thank S. for the pointer.

Comments

That is why it is so disturbing when the Author's Guild is trying to block text to speech on the latest version of Kindle, so many people use Kindle as a tool to overcome fading vision or some other disability.

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I'm not sure how old Tyler is, but I'm wagering that when he hits 50 he won't think of himself at old. (Barring physical ailments.)

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working class -- The advantage of the Kindle over any kind of computer screen is that the Kindle is not back-lit. It is therefore much more comfortable for reading over long stretches.

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Older people are on average richer. It isn't a surprise than an expensive toy like this is owned disproportionately by old people because they are disproportionately able to afford them.

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I am over 70, and fortunately my vision is
good, so that
reading books in the conventional format is not
a problem. Two things to watch out for are
glaucoma (excessive pressure within the eye)
and macular degeneration, which can gradually
destroy the ability to read. The sooner
these are caught, the better they can be
treated. And a third thing to watch out for
and avoid is retinal detachment, which can be
caused by a bad fall or violent movement of the
head. But this too can be treated, the earlier
the better--within hours.

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@Renee an iPhone for thrift? With the price difference on an at&t plan rates costing you 130$ a month without text messaging, 2 yr minimum contract? Sorry that's just laughable... kindle has 0$/month internet and email... if you want to be thrifty you get rid of your phone's data plan, put up with a clunky browser/no apps and recoup the purchase price of your kindle in about half a year.

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Wonder if they can get this covered under Medicare? Ha.

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Also Kindle books are cheaper. A new best-seller is usually $9.99 compared to $20 or more for a hardcover. If you buy 40 books a year, you've paid for your Kindle with savings. And you also have access to tens of thousands of free (out of copyright) books that you can carry around with you. And you get free wireless, even though it's clunky. Can't beat it. The only problem I've had is that sometimes the Amazon books are not well edited for the Kindle format. But that will improve with competition, especially if Apple comes out with the rumored "i-pad" medium sized device, about the size of the Kindle, but with touchscreen and larger screen size.

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I have a Kindle -- wife got it for me this Xmas. She wanted to reduce the number of old books lying around -- I like to keep books I've read. I like Kindle for two reasons. The books are less expensive and they are much more convenient. Finding books in a store can be difficult, cause I am picky about what I read. Finding them on Amazon is great, but then I have to pay and wait for shipping. The Kindle has a smaller selection, but I can get them for less very quickly. And for me it is much harder than average. Instead of buying a book in bed (as I expect many do), I have to walk near the top of a nearby hill to get whispernet connection (I live in the Xurbs of San Diego).

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AT said: "An iPhone comes with a minimum $129/month contract, so the Kindle looks cheap in comparison."

AT,

You are correct. Most people look at the upfront cost and are relatively blind to the month-to-month price that they pay. That is why "free" phones are so popular. We are generally suckers in that way. Also, the Kindle provides free 3G connectivity and even has a rudimentary browser that is more that suitable for reading blogs, news sites, or any other text based information source. A monthly fee of $0 for portable internet access makes the $379 upfront cost a bargain.

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I'm one of the "old" people, and quite frankly, a Kindle can never equal the simple pleasure of having a book in one's hands or on one's shelf. There's a romance to books that obviously a lot of people are missing. As for kindle, it could be offered free and it'd be in my trash bin before the day was done.

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I'm sure you would love reading Laura Fair Rose.

http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Fair-Rose/dp/B002D48KWG

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Several months later... I'll chime in for posterity.

Yes, 50 is old. Get over it, 50+ folks, and admit the truth. You're not a kid any more. Not even an adult in your prime. You're at the beginning of old, but old nonetheless. And most of you don't read so well, even if you personally are an exception to the rule.

The iPhone is a bargain if you buy without the contract. Perhaps the original commenter wasn't clear in that aspect. Otherwise, I'd agree the AT&T fees are outrageous. That's why so many of us jailbroke our phones from the very beginning and have been using the iPhone without AT&T for years. These days, you can simply buy without the plan. So, in this context, yes the iPhone is relatively cheap.

There's no romance to a physical book. Just your memories about how you used to interact.

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Jeg tror ikke, at ældre mennesker køber Kindle, fordi de er rigere. Det er fordi det udfylder et behov.

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Thanks so much for this! This is exactly what I was looking for

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Hi. I am ambivalent about e-book readers, but my wife's eyes are not great and she finds the selection of books (and the range of tastes) available in large print to be pathetic.

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Det er fordi det udfylder et behov.

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70 percent are 40 or older. Here is the full age bracket

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Det er fordi det udfylder et behov.

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fees are outrageous. That's why so many of us jailbroke our phones from the very beginning and have been using the iPhone without AT&T for years. These days, you can simply buy without the plan. So, in this context, yes the iPhone is relatively cheap

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Ironically, the rise of the ebook reader was made possible through the decline of quality book manufacturing. A well-made book, with well-set type and good paper is very readable, even for those with fading-but-functional vision (i.e., 80% of those in the 40-70 bracket.) However, publishers have gone to poor type and low-quality paper, allowing for something as ridiculous as a Kindle to exist, which makes up for its lack of layout and its grey background by allowing the reader to make the size as large as necessary.

As for as the discussion on price goes, I'd much rather spend $10-20 for a well-designed early- or mid-20th century hardcover of a classic that will still be worth $10-20 in a few years. An electronic file will be worth about $0.

I know someone who's on her third Kindle already--one got wet, one fell off the bed. So, she's spent about $600 on Kindles, plus paying a whopping $9.99 for pulp fiction (if she would wait a few months, the title will be a used paperback with a net cost of $2 including trade-in at any bookstore.)

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The comments themselves are as illuminating as the numbers. So many users said they like Kindle because they suffer from some form of arthritis that multiple posters indicate that they do or do not have arthritis as a matter of course.

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fees are outrageous. That's why so many of us jailbroke our phones from the very beginning and have been using the iPhone without AT&T for years. These days, you can simply buy without the plan. So, in this context, yes the iPhone is relatively cheap

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Jeg tror ikke, at ældre mennesker køber Kindle, fordi de er rigere. Det er fordi det udfylder et behov.

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The iPhone is a bargain if you buy without the contract. Perhaps the original commenter wasn't clear in that aspect. Otherwise, I'd agree the AT&T fees are outrageous. That's why so many of us jailbroke our phones from the very beginning and have been using the iPhone without AT&T for years. These days, you can simply buy without the plan. So, in this context, yes the iPhone is relatively cheap

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Ironically, the rise of the ebook reader was made possible through the decline of quality book manufacturing. A well-made book, with well-set type and good paper is very readable, even for those with fading-but-functional vision (i.e., 80% of those in the 40-70 bracket.) However, publishers have gone to poor type and low-quality paper, allowing for something as ridiculous as a Kindle to exist, which makes up for its lack of layout and its grey background by allowing the reader to make the size as large as necessary.

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