One-fifth of US adults read an e-book in the last year

Fair-goers try out the textunes eBook reader app on an Apple iPad at the Leipzig Book Fair on March 15, 2012 on the fairgrounds in Leipzig, eastern Germany.

(CBS News) More Americans are swapping their hardcover and paperback books in favor of electronic reading.

According to a new Pew Research Center survey, approximately 1 in 5 American adults read an e-book in the last year. The jump is partly due to the increase of e-book reading devices and tablet computers given during the holiday season.

The electronic book industry has shot up from $78 million in sales in 2008 to $1.7 billion in 2011, according to Albert Greco, a book industry expert at Fordham University. Greco estimates that e-book sales could reach $3.55 billion this year, reports Reuters.

Meanwhile, people who own e-book-reading devices tend to read more, according to the Pew report. The average reader of e-books has read 24 books over the past year, compared with an average of 15 books by a non-e-book consumer.

Still, that doesn't mean Americans are abandoning printed books entirely. The December 2011 Pew survey finds that 72 percent of American adults had read a printed book in the previous year.

The report was based on interviews of 2,986 Americans aged 16 and up conducted from Nov. 16 to Dec. 21, 2011. Other surveys were done in January and February.

Tell us: Do you prefer e-books or traditional hardcover/paperbacks?

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