May 31 – June 6, 2010 Edition E-Books Show Signs of Impinging on Print Sales

NEW YORK, NY/AUTHORLINK NEWS/June 1, 2010—The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) has released the results of a nine-month study of consumer attitudes toward e-book reading. The nine-month, three-part survey results–shared with publishers at the May 2010 BookExpo America (BEA)in New York–found that 25% of those who had bought e-books said they bought fewer print books than before. Fifteen percent reported they buy no print books, and 9 percent said they would not buy a print book even if the title they wanted is no available in e-book format.

The results pose some challenging questions for traditional publishers who now have the opportunity to shape reader expectations with respect to timing of digital releases and price points. The move to digital books may force publishers to reduce print runs, thus driving per-copy costs for printed books higher.

Asked what they would do if the e-book version of their favorite author’s title was not available at the same time as the hardcover, 32 percent said they would wait to buy the e-book, and 21 percent said they’d buy the hardcover.

E-book sales rose from just 1.5% of total US book sales in 2009 to 5% of the market in the first quarter of 2010, according to Kelly Gallagher, vice president of publishing services at R.R. Bowker, which represented the BISG study at BEA. Thirty-seven percent of e-book buyers bought their first digital book within the last six months.

When asked whether Digital Rights Management (DRM) would affect their decision to buy an e-book, 31 percent said yes, and 39 percent said maybe — an indication that publishers will need to weigh the trade-off between protecting their content and keeping their customers happy.