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BISG Study Says More Buyers Move to E-Books

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April 25- April 30, 2011 Edition BISG Study Says More Buyers Move to E-Books

New York, NY/AUTHORLINK NEWS/April 28, 2011–The surge in sales of e-reading devices like Amazon’s Kindle during the 2010 holiday season launched a turning point in e-book history according to the Book Industry Study Group (BISG). The second installment in VOLUME TWO of BISG’s closely watched Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading survey shows the percentage of print book consumers who say they download e-books jumped from 5% in October 2010 to nearly 13% in January 2011. In addition, fully two-thirds of survey respondents said they have moved exclusively, or mostly, to e-books over print. Finally, despite declining sales of pricier hardbacks, overall spending on books shows an uptick over the past six months, with 44% of respondents reporting higher unit purchases and 34% reporting higher overall spending on a combination of print books and e-books.

“This is a market in fast motion and identifying trends early is the key to gaining a competitive edge,” said Scott Lubeck, BISG’s Executive Director. “This on-going BISG baseline study of consumer behavior toward e-books and e-book reading devices is essential to understanding both the velocity of change and its significance to every stakeholder in the book industry.”

Since November 2009, Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading has been tracking the habits and preferences of print book consumers who say they have acquired an e-book or a dedicated e-reading device within the past 18 months. VOLUME TWO of the survey cycle is supported by Champion Sponsor Direct Brands. Other sponsors include Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble.com, Harlequin, HarperCollins Publishers, Levy Home Entertainment, Pearson and Publishing Technology.

Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading is the first study to capture data from hundreds of print book consumers who also identify as e-book readers. Respondents were first surveyed during VOLUME ONE (November 2009 to July 2010) to find out when, why, how and where they purchase and use both e-books and e-reading devices, providing a baseline measure of impact in a dynamic market. Both VOLUME ONE and VOLUME TWO are powered by Bowker’s PubTrack Consumer.

Results from the most recent survey in VOLUME TWO show:

Fiction continues to dominate downloads, with literary fiction, science fiction, and romance each comprising over 20% of all format purchases. The most influential factors leading to an e-book purchase are free samples and low prices. “Power Buyers” (respondents who indicated that they acquired e-books at least weekly) have moved away from computers to dedicated e-readers and tablets much faster than the overall pool of respondents.

“While this unprecedented rate of change makes for great headlines, assessing its impact to the overall publishing industry needs further analysis. That’s why this study is so essential,” said Kelly Gallagher, Vice President of Publishing Services of New Providence, NJ-based Bowker. “It measures consumers’ pace of migration and also tracks such important nuances as whether e-books are in the substitutional mode or incremental mode. That’s the kind of insight that will allow effective navigation of an extraordinary shift in the marketplace.”

Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading also explores the use of e-book reading devices. Current results indicate the emergence of a bifurcated market, with preference for e-reading devices such as Kindle and NOOK as devices of choice for most fiction readers, while the iPad and other tablets are preferred by those engaging in more interactive types of reading that includes charts, graphs and multimedia.

Data for Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading was derived from a nationally representative panel of book consumers (men, women and teens). Each month a new group of 3,000 respondents complete surveys about their book purchasing behavior as part of PubTrack Consumer, a service of Bowker. Out of nearly 65,000 possible panelists drawn from the last 18 months, respondents were qualified for the BISG e-book survey by indicating they had either purchased a “digital book or e-book” or owned a dedicated e-reader device (such as Kindle, NOOK, or Sony Reader). This process yielded a survey sample of 750 e-book consumers.

The survey findings are available for sale both as a PDF Summary Report and as a complete data compendium, accessible online. A substantial discount is available for BISG members. For more information, or to order a copy of Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading, visit www.bisg.org/publications/product.php?p=19&c=437.