By Jeremy Greenfield, Editorial Director, Digital Book World, @JDGsaid
Google is taking a bite out of Apple among consumers who read e-books.
Two out of five e-book readers who choose a tablet as their primary reading device use an iPad; at the end of 2011, two-thirds of those e-book readers were using an iPad, roughly a 25 point drop, according to a new study from the Book Industry Study Group (BISG). Some 25% of all readers who read e-books are now reading on tablets, up from under 20% at the end of 2011. (See chart below.)
About 10% of consumers who read e-books chose the iPad as their e-reading device of choice at the end of 2011 and in the most recent version of the BISG study. Over that same period, the percentage of people who chose an Android tablet as their e-reading device of choice shot up to about 15% from 6% in the earlier period.
BISG, in partnership with Bowker Market Research, interviewed 1,000 e-book readers about their attitudes toward e-books and e-reading in February 2012 as part of the Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading study. Over the same period, those reading e-books on an Android tablet jumped to about 15% of all e-book readers from about 6%.
Growth in tablet e-reading was fueled in the early part of the year by Amazon’s Kindle Fire. According to a recent report from research firm IDC, Kindle Fire shipments plummeted to 4% of first quarter 2012 market share after capturing 16.8% of the market in the fourth quarter of 2011.
As consumers increasingly choose tablets of any type as primary reading devices over dedicated e-readers, the e-book business could be adversely affected, according to Kelly Gallagher, vice president of publishing services at Bowker.
“Tablets will adversely affect the e-book business in that the tablet is a multifunction device and will therefore draw the reader into non-book activities and therefore cause them to consume books slower and therefore buy fewer books versus a single function e-reading device,” Gallagher told Digital Book World last week.
As tablets put pressure on sales of dedicated e-readers, prices of the e-ink devices could drop until they hit $0, Gallagher said.
“I think Nook and Kindle will actively promote this [a free e-reader] by the end of the year,” said Gallagher.
Write to Jeremy Greenfield