- - Thursday, December 27, 2012

NEW YORK — The tastes of the reading public are turning digital.

A Pew Internet Research Center survey released Thursday found that the percentage of Americans age 16 and older who read an e-book grew from 16 percent in 2011 to 23 percent this year. Readers of traditional books dropped from 72 percent to 67 percent. Overall, those reading books of any kind dropped from 78 percent to 75 percent, a shift Pew called statistically insignificant.

Those owning an e-book device or tablet jumped from 18 percent to 33 percent, with much of that increase coming from last year’s holiday season, when millions received Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers as gifts.

The telephone survey of 2,252 people age 16 and older was conducted from Oct. 15 to Nov. 10.

JUSTICE

Construction contractor to pay feds $2M penalty

A major commercial and industrial construction contractor has agreed to pay the government a $2 million penalty to resolve criminal fraud violations arising from the firm’s intentional overstating of developmental assistance provided to a disadvantaged small business as part of a Defense Department program.

The agreement by Montgomery, Ala.- based Caddell Construction Co. was announced Thursday by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, who heads the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

According to the nonprosecution agreement between the government and Caddell, the company entered into an agreement with Mountain Chief — a certified American Indian, woman-owned and economically disadvantaged small business — in February 2003 to participate in the Defense Department’s Mentor-Protege Program. The program allows major contractors to contract with and provide developmental assistance to disadvantaged small businesses and are reimbursed by the department for related costs.

FLORIDA

SeaWorld files to go public with $100M IPO

ORLANDO — Looks like Shamu may soon be making a splash in the stock market.

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. on Thursday filed for an initial public offering of stock that could raise $100 million.

That number is likely to change as the company’s bankers gauge interest from investors.

Private equity firm Blackstone Group LP, which owns SeaWorld, will likely sell some of its stake in the deal, but will still own a majority of the voting power of the company’s shares after the IPO, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

From wire dispatches and staff reports