A recent survey by the Pew Internet Project shows that the share of American adults who own an e-reader has doubled in just six months to 12% in May 2011 from 6% in November 2010.
Tablet ownership also rose during the same period, but at a slower pace than before.
In May 2001, for instance, 8% of U.S. adults reported owning a tablet such as an iPad, Galaxy Tab, or Motorola Xoom. (An overwhelming majority were likely iPad owners, given the tepid consumer response thus far to non-iPad tablets.)
That's about the same as the 7-percent of adults who said they owned a tablet in January 2011, and only a 3-percentage-point jump in ownership since November 2010, Pew says.
Prior to November 2010, tablet ownership had been rising at a relatively faster pace.
The 12-percent estimate is a milestone for the e-reader. It's the first time that ownership of the device has reached double digits since Pew began measuring e-reader use among U.S. adults in April 2009.
While e-readers and tablets are gaining popularity, both are well below adoption levels of earlier popular consumer tech devices, including cellphones, laptop and desktop PCs, DVRs, and MP3 players.
Mobile phones are far and away the most popular tech device: 83% of U.S. adults own one. Desktops and laptops are running neck and neck with 57- and 56-percent, respectively.
The Pew Internet Project findings come from a survey conducted from April 26 to May 22 among 2,277 adults ages 18 and up.