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Tuesday, March 23, 2010, 08:25 am PT (11:25 am ET)

One-third of Apple iPad buyers plan to read books, newspapers

More than a third of those eyeing Apple's forthcoming iPad will read books, newspapers and magazines on the touchscreen device, a new study has found.

In a poll of 2,176 consumers released this week, comScore found that 37 percent of potential iPad owners said it is "likely" that they will read books on the device. Another 34 percent said they would read newspapers and magazines.

Ironically, those totals are more than the 26 percent of respondents who said they would download software from the App Store, suggesting consumers may be confused as to how they will access books and newspapers on the device. Apple's iBooks application, which includes the iBookstore marketplace, will not come preinstalled on the iPad, and must be downloaded from the App Store.

The study also found that consumers who are already a part of the Apple mobile ecosystem, referred to by comScore as "iOwners," are more likely to pay for newspaper and magazine subscriptions than others. In all, 52 percent of "iOwners" said they were willing to subscribe to print content formatted for an e-reader, while 22 percent of all other consumers said they would be willing to subscribe.

"These findings suggest that those who are already familiar and comfortable with making digital content purchases via iTunes may have a relatively higher receptivity to making similar purchases for the iPad," the report said.

The survey provides some insight as to how users plan to use the new portable multimedia device, which goes on sale April 3. The most popular option for users is browsing the Internet, with 50 percent saying they will access their favorite Web sites via the iPad.

Close behind is checking e-mail, which 48 percent of respondents said they plan to do. In addition, 38 percent will listen to music, 37 percent will use the address book and contact list functionality, and 36 percent plan to watch videos and movies.

The study also found that consumer awareness of the iPad has matched that of Amazon's Kindle, with 65 percent of respondents having heard of both. Demand for the iPad has also exceeded the Kindle, as 15 percent said they will seriously consider buying an iPad, while 14 percent would consider the Kindle.

That supports another study released earlier this month that found that interest in the Amazon Kindle has waned after the iPad was introduced in late January. Until now, the Kindle has been far-and-away the e-reader market leader, but its black-and-white e-ink display makes it suitable for a very limited number of tasks.

Additional discoveries from the comScore study include:

  • Consumers are generally happy with the "iPad" name, with 49 percent having a positive impression and 27 percent indifferent. The results are also gender-neutral, with both men and women having the same reaction.
  • Unsurprisingly, those who already preordered an iPad are likely to already own an iPhone or iPod touch. But 15 percent of both "iOwners" and "non-iOwners" said they are likely to buy.
  • In terms of cannibalism, 37 percent of respondents said they are most likely to have the iPad replace an iPod touch. But only 22 percent of consumers said they would use an iPad in place of a netbook.
  • AT&T customers are more likely to buy the iPad in its first three months, with 25 percent of them stating their intent. But just 10 percent of Verizon subscribers said they will buy an iPad.