|Weekly News Digest
May 3, 2012 — In addition to this week's NewsBreak(s), the editors have compiled the Weekly News Digest, featuring stories from the week just past that you should know about. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today.
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Ebook Consumers Say Yes to Tablets, Says BISG Study
Ebook consumers’ preference for tablets is accelerating rapidly as dedicated e-readers drop in popularity, according to the Book Industry Study Group’s (BISG) closely watched "Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading" survey. The second installment in Volume Three of the study shows that, over the course of just 6 months, consumers’ “first choice” preference for dedicated e-readers, such as those from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, declined from 72% to 58%. Tablet devices are now the most preferred reading device for more than 24% of ebook buyers, up from less than 13% in August 2011. Further, the increase in tablet preference was not primarily for Apple’s iPad (which rose by more than 1%), but for non-Apple tablets—overwhelmingly from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. These non-Apple devices increased from 5% to 14% over the same period.
The "Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading" study, powered by Bowker Market Research, points to a buoyant book market. Nearly 30% of respondents in the February 2012 survey reported an increase in money spent on books in all formats since they began acquiring ebooks, while nearly 50% reported an overall increase in the volume of titles purchased in any format. The numbers are even rosier for the ebook market: More than 62% of respondents reported an increase in dollars spent on ebooks, and more than 72% reported that they have increased the volume of e-titles they are buying. Some publishers are reporting that even when overall revenue has declined, profitability—particularly for ebooks—has increased.
In addition to “Power Buyers” (those who acquire ebooks at least weekly), this report looks at the behavior of “Casual Buyers,” who purchase one or two books a month. The study reveals that this second generation of ebook and e-reader adopters is catching up with Power Buyers in a number of ways. More than 27% of Casual Buyers now exclusively purchase ebooks rather than print, compared to 30% of Power Buyers. Further, Casual Buyers are only slightly more likely to play games (37% versus 35%) or watch video content (23% vs. 21%) on their devices. However, Casual Buyers lag significantly behind Power Buyers on the uptake of multifunction devices. Only half of Casual Buyers use a tablet regularly, compared to 83% of Power Buyers.
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 ebook or a dedicated e-reading device within the past 18 months. Volume Three is sponsored by Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, and Harlequin. In addition to quarterly PDF Summary Reports, Volume Three is 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 with on-demand accessibility.
The Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG) is the U.S. book industry's leading trade association for policy, standards, and research. Bowker is an affiliated business of ProQuest. In March 2012, Bowker merged the U.S.-based PubTrack Consumer brand with U.K.-based Book Marketing Limited (BML) under a new global brand named Bowker Market Research.
Source: Book Industry Study Group, Inc.
Paula J. Hane
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