More Than a Passing Fancy: Ongoing BISG Study Reveals E-Book Buyers Deepening Commitment to Digital Formats

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Final report in Volume Two of Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading survey available for pre-order, ships November 21st

The e-book market is developing very fast, with consumer attitudes and behaviors changing over the course of months, rather than years.

E-book sales can be expected to continue growing as readers show increased loyalty to and satisfaction with the digital format, according to Book Industry Study Group’s (BISG) closely watched Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading survey. Results of the final installment in Volume Two of the survey show that nearly 50% of print book consumers who have also acquired an e-book in the past 18 months would wait up to three months for the e-version of a book from a favorite author, rather than immediately read it in print. A year ago, only 38% said they would wait this long.

“The e-book market is developing very fast, with consumer attitudes and behaviors changing over the course of months, rather than years,” said Angela Bole, BISG's Deputy Executive Director. “This ongoing BISG baseline study of consumer behavior toward e-books and e-book reading devices is absolutely essential to every stakeholder in the book industry who wants to stay ahead of the trends.”

Results from the final survey in Volume Two show:

·         Power Buyers are spending more. More than 46% of those who say they acquire e-books at least weekly (considered “Power Buyers” in this survey) report that they have increased their dollars spent for books in all formats, compared with 30.4% of all survey respondents. This statistic is important because Power Buyers have proven to be a bellwether of overall consumer behavior by three to six months.

·         Amazon momentum continues. Amazon.com continues to be the preferred source for e-book acquisition (holding steady at 70%) and e-book information (44%). Barnes & Noble comes in second at 26%, with Apple in third. One to watch: libraries, which are on the upswing as a preferred source for e-book acquisition.

·         Satisfaction with e-reading devices is high. Seventy-five percent (75%) of respondents reported they are satisfied with their e-reading device, including more than 38% of respondents who reported being “very satisfied.” Less than 5% said they felt their e-reading device was not a good value for the money.

·         Many barriers to e-book reading are falling. Survey results indicate that concerns about e-book availability are diminishing. And although the cost of e-reading devices remains a reported concern, the single most popular answer to the question of what hinders respondents from reading more e-books was “nothing” at 33% (up from 17.6% a year ago).

Since November 2009, the Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading surveys have 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 18 months prior to each survey fielding. 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.

Data for the Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading survey series is derived from a nationally representative panel of book consumers (men, women and teens). Each month a new group of 6,000 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 are 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). For the final survey in Volume Two, this process yielded a survey sample of 750 e-book consumers.

“As e-books become the primary reading format for many consumers in the coming months and years, it will be essential for the publishing community to understand consumers’ individual preferences and desires in order to connect with them," said Kelly Gallagher, Vice President of Publishing Services at Bowker.

Volume Three, launching this month and covering e-book consumer behaviors from November 2011 through September 2012, will continue to provide quarterly trending of this ever-evolving market. Volume Three again teams BISG with Bowker’s PubTrack Consumer, a service of Bowker. In addition to quarterly PDF Summary Reports, Volume Three will be published as a dynamic online report via Real-Time Reporting: a unique web-based tool set displaying the raw data derived from responses—drillable, sortable and with on-demand accessibility.

“Having innovative tools like Real-Time Reporting that can answer these questions at a detailed level are essential to connecting with digital consumers today,” said Mr. Gallagher.

Findings from all survey fieldings in Volume Two are available for sale both as PDF Summary Reports and as a complete data compendium, accessible online. A substantial discount is available for BISG members. The final report in Volume Two can be pre-ordered today for shipment via email during the week of November 21, 2011.

For more information, or to order Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading, visit http://www.bisg.org/publications/product.php?p=19&c=437.

About the Book Industry Study Group, Inc.
The Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG) is the U.S. book industry’s leading trade association for policy, standards and research. The mission of BISG is to create a more informed, empowered and efficient book industry supply chain for both physical and digital products. Membership consists of publishers, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, librarians and others engaged in the business of print and electronic media. For more than 30 years, BISG has provided a forum for all industry professionals to come together and efficiently address issues and concerns to advance the book community.
Learn more about BISG at http://www.bisg.org.

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Angela Bole
BISG
646-336-7141
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