Dear readers, I did not write a new article this week. Instead, I will ask you to take a couple of minutes to answer a few questions. This survey is about your reading and listening preferences. Your responses will help me to prepare future articles and books – maybe in audio – on the topics and in the formats you prefer.
Our digital world is changing very rapidly. Today, many people use their smartphone as their primary computer. For many people in developing areas, their smartphone is their first and only computer. In the last decade, the ebook has changed our reading habits by making books easily available, weightless, and inexpensive. Our grandparents would never have dreamed of you being able to carry an entire library in your pocket, and to be able to add to it anytime, anywhere you had an internet connection.
Additionally, around the world, audiobooks and podcast shows are growing very rapidly. (The easiest explanation of the difference between audiobooks and podcast shows is that audiobooks are like a movie while podcast shows are like episodes of a television series.) While we commute to school and work, or anytime we work with our hands but are free to listen, increasing numbers of people are turning to podcast shows and audiobooks. (Plus, parents of small children and other people who wish to reduce screen time find listening is an attractive alternative to looking at a screen.) Some search engines are beginning to return query results that include podcast show episodes in addition to internet websites.
Likewise, we are becoming accustomed to voice commands and voice searches with various devices around our homes and in our pockets. Some authorities are predicting that the majority of searches will soon be initiated by voice instead of by typing. Like other technological developments in the past decades, these new developments will bring some good and some bad aspects to our daily life. With this survey, I am eager to learn what your habits and preferences are today.
Please answer the following questions according to your current reading and listening habits. If you wish, you are welcome to write a longer response to any question, but most can be answered very quickly. I think the easiest way to complete this survey is to copy and paste the questions to a Word or text file. Then type your answer below each question, and email your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks very much for helping me with this information about your preferences. If you wish to know the survey results, please include a message in your email to me and I will send you a summary.
I’ll be back with the regularly scheduled drivel next week. Please participate. It will be a big help for me to know what you know, like, and trust.
1) How many ebooks have you read in the last year? How many paper books have you read in the last year? (Students: Please, do not include class textbooks in your answer.)
2) Do you usually read ebooks on your smartphone, tablet, Kindle, or laptop? Do you read ebooks in PDF, Mobi, or ePub format?
3) Do you ever read short stories, serialized stories, or single chapters of non-fiction ebooks?
4) Where do you get your ebooks? What sources or websites do you download them from?
5) How do you decide which ebooks to download and read? Do you use visit websites that recommend books? Do you join online groups for readers to discuss what they are enjoying?
6) Do you listen to podcasts on your phone or computer? How many podcasts do you listen to each week?
7) How do you locate, download, and listen to podcasts?
8) What type of podcast programs do you prefer?
9) How do you decide which podcasts to listen to? How do you search for new podcasts?
10) Do you prefer to listen to podcasts or read blog posts?
11) Do you listen to audiobooks on your phone or computer? How many audiobooks do you listen to each month?
12) What is your favorite type of audiobook? How do you learn about new audiobooks which you want to download and listen to?
13) When you are using your phone or computer, do you use voice commands or typed commands to search for new ebooks, podcasts, and audiobooks?
To help me sort this information, please include your gender, age, occupation/student grade, and location. No need for your name unless you wish. This survey is for my own use. No one else will see your responses.