As the e-reader market develops, analysts and companies are able to learn more about potential customers

The Amazon Kindle leads the growing e-reader market, but numerous other competitors are expected to enter the market.  As the market expands, book publishers are still trying to work through royalties, e-book prices, and electronic rights related to shared materials.

An estimated 2.8 million e-readers are in use in the United States -- excluding e-books read on PCs -- with 2009 e-book sales exploding 176.6 percent year-over-year.

E-books make up just 3 percent of books sold, but that number also is expected to increase while consumers become more familiar with e-readers and e-books.

Following traditional print publishing, there are more women e-book readers at the moment, while men favor magazines and newspapers.  Both Sony and Barnes & Noble discovered their products were being used more by older users, but analysts are unsure if this is an industry-wide statistic.

"We're not finding the more-mature trend, and only a very slight tendency for men to own e-readers more than women," Risa Becker, GfK MRI VP of research operations, said earlier in the spring.

Although GfK MRI didn't see a trend towards older consumers, it will be interesting to see if the recent e-reader price cuts are able to bring in a younger audience.  Younger readers may also be waiting for e-book prices to lower and stabilize before purchasing an e-reader and e-books -- though Becker did say e-book users are likely to be college-educated, make more than $100K per year, and are very tech savvy.

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