Anyone who hangs around discussion forums for just about anything has run into the ‘How Old Are You?’ poll / question. Evidently there was a similar thread called “Average Kindle Owner’s Age” in the Amazon Kindle Forums. None of this is surprising. The amazing thing is that someone took the time to compile all of the data presented in these posts and do some analysis! Stephen Peters of Kindle Culture is writing a book called, unsurprisingly, Kindle Culture, and they went though all 1700 posts and compiled all of the data. So what does it all say?
First, on the methodology:
Though I ended up culling 1,387 responses from almost 1,700 posts, these charts don’t adhere to polling science standards and should thus be taken with a grain of salt. That said, my methodology included the use of second-hand figures (“my son, 27, has one too”), and the exclusion of ill-defined ages (“I’m in my 50s”), questionable responses (106-year-old Sigmund Freud says, “I like the large type!”), and a handful of entries that were repeated one or more times.
Taking a graph from Kindle Culture:
The resulting data suggests that the largest group of Kindle owners by decade are in their 50s. The next two largest are owners in their 40s at 19.1% and owners in their 60s at 18%, making the total number of Kindle owners between the ages of 40 and 69 an incredible 58.6%. Owners above 70 make up an additional 8.1%, with owners under the age of 40 accounting for just over a third of all Kindle sales.
The author makes an interesting observation about the data:
But if these numbers are any indication, the Kindle appears to be the first general purpose technology device I know of with an early adopter demographic that favors the over-54 age bracket over the usual 18-34 group, effectively turning one perennial marketing trend on its head.
Of course, statistics out of context are only mildly interesting, and there are no contextual observations drawn here. I was left as someone in that 70% bracket who is a non-Kindle person, having been happy to read my ebooks on PDA’s starting nearly twenty years ago with a HP 200LX and currently on the iPod Touch and Dell Axim x51v. But when I look at my wife, if she was to read an ebook she would love something like the Kindle because of the look and feel – and the font size being easier on the eyes than how I read.
So I am left wondering “why”? Why is it that a new technology device like the Kindle is being adopted disproportionately by older folks? Is it the likeness to actual books in terms of the reading experience? Is the Kindle a sort of ‘gateway’ device for them?
I know we have a number of Kindle users here as readers as well as contributors. What do you think of all of this based on your experience?