Kindle, Nook owner ages – noticeable differences

In April 2009, Stephen Peters compiled responses from a kindle forum thread discussing kindle owners’ ages and created a comprehensive break-up of Kindle Ownership by Age.  

What is the age distribution for Kindle owners?

Disclaimer: This was done in April 2009. It’s 1,387 responses and a self-selecting group.

The break-up by age of Kindle Owners was -

  1. 4.25% kindle owners between 10-19 – 59 out of 1,387. 
  2. 13.3% kindle owners between 20-29 – 185 out of 1,387.
  3. 15.7% kindle owners between 30-39 – 218 out of 1,387.
  4. 19.1% kindle owners between 40-49 – 265 out of 1,387.
  5. 21.2% kindle owners between 50-59 – 294 out of 1,387.
  6. 18.3% kindle owners between 60-69 – 254 out of 1,387.
  7. 6.6% kindle owners between 70-79 – 92 out of 1,387.
  8. 1.5% kindle owners between 80-89 – 21 out of 1,387.

This created quite a stir as numerous blogs and sites fixated on the fact that these numbers might mean that over 70% of kindle owners were over 40 years of age.

In case you’re wondering – Yes, the 70% figure is wrong – guess their ageist bias goes hand in hand with an inability to do simple math.  

Which brings us to Nook owners’ ages.

What is the distribution of ages for Nook Owners?

Disclaimer: This is based on a single Nook forum thread with just 111 responses and is probably a self-selecting group.

There’s a thread at the official Nook forum discussing Nook Owners’ age distribution. It’s just 111 responses and gives us -

  1. 7.21% Nook Owners between 10 and 19 – 8 out of 111.
  2. 21.62% Nook owners between 20-29 – 24 out of 111.
  3. 17.11% of Nook owners between 30-39 – 19 out of 111.
  4. 22.52% of Nook owners are between 40-49 – 25 out of 111.
  5. 18.01% of Nook owners are between 50-59 – 20 out of 111.
  6. 11.71% of Nook owners are between 60-69 – 13 out of 111.
  7. Just 1 nook owner between 70-79. That’s 0.9%.
  8. Just 1 nook owner between 80-89.

A noticeable skew towards a slightly younger ownership.

Researching the responses also threw up a very interesting observation -

Nook owners seem to be primarily women

There were 71 female respondents and 24  male respondents out of 95 who indicated sex (or whose name made it obvious). That’s 74.7% women.

Even accounting for higher use of social networks and forums by women that’s quite a skew. 

What differences are there between Kindle and Nook owner ages?

Well, there are some interesting differences -

  1. While 66.7% of Kindle owners seem to be over 40, only 54.04% of Nook owners fall into the same demographic.
  2. It is worth nothing that owners aged 40 and above are still the majority owners of both Kindle and Nook.
  3. 50-59 seems to be the largest demographic for Kindle Owners.
  4. 20-29 and 40-49 seem to be the largest demographics for Nook owners.
  5. Comparatively, a very small percentage of Nook owners are 60 and above.
  6. Comparatively, noticeably fewer Kindle owners are below 30.

It seems that the Nook is attracting a larger share of young people and scaring away readers over 60.

A few factors that might be the cause of this effect -

  1. The dual screens, especially the color LCD touchscreen, probably make the Nook attractive to the younger crowd and confusing/complicated to readers above 60.
  2. The heavier weight of the Nook probably rules it out for most people with arthritis.
  3. The better looks of the Nook probably sway younger readers more. This might also be the cause of the skew towards female readers for the Nook – nothing sexist – just that women are much more particular about appearance.

It’ll be interesting to see how Nook owner age statistics hold up as the number of responses increase. Once we hit 1,000 or so we’ll have more dependable numbers.

14 Responses

  1. As to “dependability,” both of these samples are non-random and self-selected, so I would be hesitant in making any scientific inferences about them beyond framing hypotheses for a more controlled study.

  2. as prices fall for ebook readers, youll see more younger people buying them. disposable income is a big factor in making the cash outlay for a reader. consider also that younger people tend not to be avid readers. at least, ive never met one, although im sure they must exist :)

    and no, i dont consider “ive read every harry potter book” as qualifying as an “avid reader”… im talking about people for whom trips to the bookstore/library are a regular part of their routine, and consume at least 30+ books a year (which id consider pretty light, but im an edge-case on this one at 100 books a year on average)… the kind of person you could reasonably expect to see an ebook reader as a worthwhile investment. that demographic almost HAS to skew older. that, or theres some secret society of young readers that ive never been introduced to.

    • As a parent, I have to toss into the mix that both of my daughters (both teenagers) read a lot — probably a book a week or more — for pleasure. On the other hand, my younger daughter also spends a great deal of time reading on her computer/netbook. (And then she complains that her eyes hurt; I really need to convince her that eInk is easier on the eyes.)

      So the interesting question would be how you define a reader. I would imagine that limiting yourself to those that only read physical books may miss a large portion of the younger readers.

  3. Hype sold the Nook. User reviews sold the Kindle. Could this difference be age group related?

  4. My (highly unscientific) impression is that the age of Kindle owners has been trending down also. The December Amazon thread reflected a number of younger Kindle owners, as well as older ones, and a number of people have reported buying Kindles for their kids, etc.

  5. I think it’s a design thing. The kindle has a 1970’s mainframe look to it. The nook looks appealing and nicely designed (even if software lacking). I think younger people are more about design and older people value function more.

  6. This is a really old article, so nobody will probably read this, but:

    Speaking as a member of the millenial generation, let me point out two events that may bias my generation towards Barnes and Noble.

    1. When we were growing up in the 90’s, B+N and Starbucks were both breaking out huge. A lot of us remember hanging out at the B+N cafes in high school. I’m not saying it completed defined the times or anything, but it’s definitely something I remember from my youth. Older readers were there as well at the time. But it probably didn’t define the brand (Barnes and Noble = place for reading) as much as it did for the younger and more impressionable.

    2. We associate proprietary formats with the whole Napster/ Kazaa/ Itunes thing, and HATE them. Thus, we do not like Kindle.

    Also, some other things to consider:

    3. B+N promotions and Wi-Fi access appeal mainly to people that live near B+N store and many Wi-Fi hotspots, i.e. cities. These areas are generally younger.

    4. Avid reading correlates with age, not generation. I’m 27 and have gradually stopped playing video games over the last 2-3 years. Reading is replacing them.

  7. Who has a kindle besides my wife. I have a childrens story on kindle books. Its a great story based on actual evnts called THE ADVENTURES OF DUC. Ihave had absolutely no responce to date. I even took out and ad in the local paper. NADA. Who do you target. HELP.

  8. [...] the last couple of years, I’m not sure how accurate that information is.  This article from ireaderreview.com shows that Kindle users tend to be older than Nook users and credits the Nook color/tablet with [...]

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