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The share of adults in the United States who own tablet computers nearly doubled from 10% to 19% between mid-December and early January and the same surge in growth also applied to e-book readers, reports a Pew Internet study. The number of Americans owning at least one of these digital reading devices jumped from 18% in December to 29% in January.

The share of adults in the United States who owned an e-book reader went from 6% in November 2010 to 12% in May, 2011, according to Pew, with the market for eBook and Tablet owners beginning to converge.

As the holiday gift-giving season approached, the marketplace for both media tablets and e-book readers dramatically shifted. In the tablet world, Amazon’s Kindle Fire ($199) and Barnes and Noble’s Nook Tablet ($249) were introduced. In the e-book reader world, some versions of the Kindle and Nook and other readers fell well below $100.

A pre-holiday survey was conducted among 2,986 people age 16 and older between November 16 and December 21, 2011, and has a margin of error of +/- two percentage points.

Apple’s new textbook initiative appears to be gaining quickly, too.

Global Equities Research, which monitors Apple’s iBook sales via a proprietary tracking system, more than 350,000 textbooks have been downloaded from the company’s iBooks Store within the first three days of availability. During the same time, some 90,000 downloads of iBooks Author, Apple’s free textbook-creation tool, were downloaded.

Epub3 has just recently been finalized as an eBook format. The Epub3 spec is based on HTML5, and makes use of the latest in interactive content, rich media (audio, video), and global language support. “EPUB has become the industry standard format for digital publications based on Web Standards that are structured, reliable, device-independent, and accessible,” said BIll McCoy, Executive Director, IDPF.

E-Pub reader apps – much like Barnes and Noble’s free Nook Reader application will run on a variety of mobile devices (including IOS and Android), as well as desktops and laptops. The Nook Reader app currently supports ePub-2.

But it would surprise nobody if B&N soon supports ePub-3 with rich media and fancy layout control. ePub-3 could – at least theoretically – enable rich media compatibility between Nook Tablets, Android Tablets, Kindle Tablets and Apple’s iPad, incorporating many of the features seen on Apple’s new iBooks Author and Textbook App.

NBC News is launching a new venture called NBC Publishing, reports Digital Book World.

The new unit will focus on e-books enhanced with archival and new NBC video footage.

“We have over one million hours of archival video content going back to the ’20s and a really low cost structure to edit it and put it together,” said Michael Fabiano, general manager of NBC Publishing. Fabiano said while NBC has the capability to distribute the e-books on its own, it is also currently exploring a number of other options.

“2012 will be the year when retailers adopt EPUB 3,” said Bill McCoy, executive director of the IDPF.

For instance, Ingram Content Group, the country’s largest distributor of digital and physical books, said that its e-textbook reader, VitalSource Bookshelf, which is available as an application for the iPad and iPhone, Mac & Windows browsers and Android will begin to support EPUB 3 in April.

With an estimated 80+ new tablets coming to market this year, and close to half of those Android tablets, a cross platform publishing standard – like ePUB-3 – would of interest to both publishers and consumers.

Related articles on Dailywireless include; iBooks: Cellular’s Big Bang?, Kindle Fire: Profitable, Apple Textbook App, XO-3: OLPC’s $99 Tablet, Barnes & Noble: Getting Out of Publishing?, E-Books: Banner Year , Barnes & Noble Introduces $249 Media Tablet, Nook Tablet: $249, Kindle: Ignition Point, Television 3.0, Pocket Supercomputer, New Kindle File Format, Apple Vs Amazon on Subscription Services, E-Book Judgement Day, Nook Color Updated for Android Apps, Kindle Library Lending, Adobe: Tablet Publishing for Android, Google Editions: Web eBooks Readied, Bookstores: Preparing for E-Books?, e-Publishing: The New Normal, Here Come the Tablets, 2010: 11 Million Tablets, WiFi Nook: $149, Starbucks: Free WiFi + Free Content, Scribd Does HTML 5 Magazines, Kindle Announces 70% Royalty Option, Media’s Primordial Soup: Tablets, Tablets, Tablets, Tablets, E-Magazines: Pay Once, Play Anywhere, The $99 Android Tablet, Barnes & Noble: Self Publishing this Summer, Apple Sells 1M iPads, Battle of the eBooks and Tablet Revolution!

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