The Pew Internet & American Life Project just released a 26-page PDF (link below) on their results on how Americans use email at work. The actual study was conducted by phone six months ago in early May, so some of the results may be off from today, especially the level of spam reportedly received.
The study doesn't touch on specifics relating to the publishing industry. They don't ask how many subscriptions folks have or how they feel about news services they signed up for. (However, there is quite a bit of data on bizpeople using the Web for gossip.)
One bit of data that serves as a good reminder to all of us in the content business is that although 95% of users said they were able to stay on top of the workload email represents and the vast majority said they didn't get much spam email at work addresses, 64% said they consider handling email "a necessary chore" and 5% said, "I dread it." Just 26% said they look forward to email.
I'm willing to bet most of those 26% were English majors :-).
Fact is, email, like "reading," is something the majority of people don't like to do. We in the publishing business are love-to-read-stuff freaks compared to the general population.
Which is good to keep top of mind when it comes to editorial, subscription benefit sales copy, and layout.