Book readers prefer e-readers to iPads, e-readers buy more books, and trade publishers are now emerging as a driving force in the e-reader market. These are just some of the conclusions from three new surveys looking into this noisy sector.
A Harris Poll revealed one in six Americans who do not have an e-reader intend to buy one during the next six months, while ownership has doubled in the past 12 months. This may be welcomed by publishers as e-reader owners are reading more books, according to the survey. Overall, 16% of Americans read between 11 and 20 books per year with 20% reading more than 21. However, a third of those who own a Kindle, Nook or other device read 11-20 books a year with 27% reading more than 21. E-reader owners are also more likely to buy books, with 17% purchasing between 11 and 20 and 17% buying more than 21 over 12 months. The top genres among e-book owners are crime and thriller (47%), science fiction (25%), literature (23%) and romance (23%). In non-fiction, biography is most popular (29%), then history (27%) and religion and spirituality (24%).
Harris surveyed 2,183 people during a week in July 2011. It found 8% of adults used an e-book reader 12 months ago, compared to 15% now.
An Aptara survey meanwhile revealed that one in five publishers is now generating more than 10% of their revenues from e-books. The survey found trade publishers in particular are now a driving force in the e-books market, adopting "at a faster rate than any other type of book publisher". The percentage of trade publishers producing e-books has risen from 50% to 76% in two years. In fact, only 6% of trade publishers said they have no plans to produce e-books, the lowest proportion among the different types of publishers, and a 17% drop from Aptara's first survey. The survey also found that trade publishers were now catching up their peers in terms of revenue, with 20% reporting they now had e-book sales in excess of 10%, beaten only by college and corporate publishers.
While 56% of trade publishers reported Amazon as their largest sales generator, only 20% of publishers listed Amazon as their preferred distribution channel. According to Aptara, Amazon still dominates distribution across all publishing market segments but by a steadily decreasing margin. While Barnes & Noble was the second-most popular distribution channel for trade publishers, the perception of Barnes & Noble's effect on trade publishers' bottom line was almost non-existent (1%).
The numbers are revealed in Aptara's third annual e-book survey of publishers, representing more than 1,300 book publishers from the trade, education, professional and corporate markets. The overwhelming percentage of responding publishers across all market segments were from English-speaking countries including United States (70%), United Kingdom (8%), Canada (3%), and Australia (3%).
Last Beacon Hill Strategic Solutions’ Steve Paxhia presented on consumer e-book and college student buying trends at the Book Industry Study Group a.g.m. in New York. Consumers are showing increasing loyalty to e-books. In May 2010, when asked if they would wait three months for a book to be available electronically, only 30% said yes; now 45% said they would wait for the e-version. Consumers’ favourite e-book device is the dedicated e-reader, it was revealed. While the Kindle still prevails and the Nook and NookColor have made massive strides, the iPad has declined as a preferred device for bookreading.
BISG’s new executive director Len Vlahos was encouraged that the percentage of e-book titles readers are accessing for free versus the percentage they are paying for has decreased in the last three years. Free represents about 14% of total books downloaded.
In the no shit Sherlock category, came this statement from Harris: "E-Readers are definitely here to stay and this means the publishing world needs to learn to change with the times."
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