Skip to main content

According to Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading, eBook sales have leveled off at about 30% of the market, representing 15% of the dollars spent. The Book Industry Study Group has just issued Volume 4 of this four-year study conducted by Nielson Book Research for the Study Group which bills itself as "the book industry's leading trade association for policy, standards, and research."
Len Vlahos, BISG Executive Director, said "Four years of consumer data shows clearly that e-book consumption has reached mainstream readers and has expanded well beyond early adopter 'power readers,' but that physical books remain a popular format for many consumers, especially in certain categories. This survey provides actionable information for companies across the industry to stay ahead of these trends."
The main message seems to be that eBooks have leveled off at 30% and we don't have to worry anymore about additional market share being eaten up by this new technology, because the early years provided all of the hyper-growth that is likely to occur. I seem to recall last year reading that the 20% mark was as high as growth was going to get as the market matured. Actually, it was in a diary six months ago that I quoted
Ebooks accounted for 22.55 percent, or nearly a quarter, of U.S. book publishers’ sales in 2012, according to a full-year report released by the Association of American Publishers Thursday. That’s up from 17 percent of sales in 2011 and 3 percent in 2009. Ebook growth continued to plateau, however, suggesting that the industry is maturing.
More of the conclusions reached by the latest study appear below.

Almost half (48%) of respondents indicated that they would be more likely to purchase bundled books, which include both physical and digital editions. Amazon has finally begun offering their MatchBook Program which purports to do exactly that, although on a limited basis. At least to start.

For $2.99 or less, you can now purchase a digital copy of any qualifying print edition book that you bought, or will buy in the future, directly from Amazon. (That excludes any purchases from Amazon Marketplace.) And while they advertise thousands of books, I found the pickings to be somewhat slim. But anecdote is not data; Amazon is adding new titles to the list everyday. And, as a digital power reader, I am not really their target market, that is probably the 48% of book buyers who would pay a little more to have the option of reading a digital or print edition.

The study also reported that just over half of the consumers they talked to would pay more for a digital book if it could be given away or resold. Personally, I am not sure why we should have to pay more for these rights, but the resale market in physical books has gotten a huge boost from, you may have guessed it, Amazon. From a recent Guardian article on the demise of small publishers:

Niche academic and educational publishers are particularly vulnerable, because their model is being undermined by digital piracy and online secondhand book sales on sites such as Amazon Marketplace. Cork said: "The arrival of Amazon has transformed the secondhand book trade from a fairly minor nuisance to a serious threat. Where once you had to trawl the secondhand bookshops if you wanted to get hold of a cheap hardback or academic book, you can now be fairly certain of getting hold of what you want at the click of a button, and the publisher will not make a penny."
And as much as I appreciate the plight of independent book publishers, the manufacturer of a gently used beaded evening bag will not make a penny off of its resale at that same marketplace. Or on eBay. And I am not quite convinced that a publisher is any more entitled to that penny than is the producer of any other item being sold second-hand.

More information on the study's results comes from Publishers Weekly:

One thing that hasn’t changed since the study was launched is the dominance of Amazon in the e-book market. Sixty-seven percent of e-book buyers said that their primary source for e-books was Amazon, with 51% saying they buy most of their e-books from the Amazon site and another 16% using an Amazon app. Barnes & Noble held onto second place with a 12% share divided almost equally between their Web site and the B&N app. Apple was third with an 8% share.
I suspect that one of the reasons that Amazon consistently remains on top is because of their willingness to experiment with new formats, like the MatchBook Program. The latest innovation is Amazon's Kindle First. Under this new program, Amazon will offer a pre-publication look at one of several new Kindle books each month. For Amazon Prime members there will be no charge for one of these books, for non-members the price is $1.99. Everyone will be limited to one per month, although other titles can be purchased at the full pre-publication price.
The debut Kindle First picks are Things We Set on Fire, by best-selling author Deborah Reed; No Place for a Dame, by best-selling romance author Connie Brockway; Silent Echo, by best-selling mystery author J.R. Rain; and We Will Survive: True Stories of Encouragement, Inspiration, and the Power of Song, by Grammy-award winning recording artist Gloria Gaynor. All books will be published in December but are available to Kindle First members starting today.
As others have noted, none of these are from big name publishers, but it is a cheap and easy way to build up a digital library. It is also nice to have an advance look at what will be published in the following month.

Forty percent of eBook readers own Kindles, according to the survey, as reported by Forbes, with only 27% owning an iPad. However, those figures are expected to flip, leading to a higher percentage reading on a tablet: about a third of current ebook readers expect to buy a tablet (not necessarily an iPad) in the future, contrasting with only 8% who plan on buying a Kindle or Nook. Which makes sense to me, as I switched to an iPad mini earlier this year so that I could read content from any vendor, not just Amazon.

Finally, speaking of content from any vendor, I have cancelled my Oyster subscription already, deciding that Scribd offered more of what I wanted to read. In writing diaries for Monday Murder Mystery, I will often go back and read past entries in a series that is new to me. With its large offering of HarperCollins' backlist, Scribd has more of what I need in a subscription service. YMMV.

Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule:

DAY TIME (EST/EDT) Series Name Editor(s)
SUN 6:00 PM Young Reader's Pavilion The Book Bear
2:00 PM What's on Your E-Reader? Caedy
2:00 PM Bibliophile's Wish List Caedy
4:00 PM Political Books Susan from 29
Sun 9:30 PM SciFi/Fantasy Book Club quarkstomper
Bi-Monthly Sun Midnight Reading Ramblings don mikulecky
MON 8:00 PM Monday Murder Mystery michelewln, Susan from 29
Mon 11:00 PM My Favorite Books/Authors edrie, MichiganChet
TUES 5:00 PM Indigo Kalliope: Poems from the Left bigjacbigjacbigjac
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM LGBT Literature Texdude50, Dave in Northridge
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM All Things Bookstore Dave in Northridge
Tue 8:00 PM Contemporary Fiction Views bookgirl
WED 7:30 AM WAYR? plf515
Wed 2:00 PM e-books Susan from 29
Wed 8:00 PM Bookflurries Bookchat cfk
THU 8:00 PM Write On! SensibleShoes
Thu (first each month) 11:00 AM Monthly Bookpost AdmiralNaismith
alternate Thursdays 11:00 PM Audiobooks Club SoCaliana
FRI 8:00 AM Books That Changed My Life Diana in NoVa
Fri 8:00 PM Books Go Boom! Brecht
Fri 10:00 PM Slightly Foxed -- But Still Desirable shortfinals
SAT (fourth each month) 11:00 AM Windy City Bookworm Chitown Kev
Sat 12:00 PM You Can't Read That! Paul's Book Reviews pwoodford
Sat 9:00 PM Books So Bad They're Good Ellid

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 11:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site