Readers Want More Value for Ebooks, New Study Suggests

Readers are “very” interested in bundling print products with ebooks and would pay more for ebooks if they could re-sell them or give them away, according to a new study.

Report Two of Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading, Volume 4 from the Book Industry Study Group suggests that readers are interested in paying more and getting more from ebooks.

According to the report, consumers would pay more for a print book bundled with an ebook than they would for either product. Over half of respondents would pay more for ebooks if they could be given away or sold.

The study also reveals that while ebook buying is still growing among consumers in the U.S., it is slowing and now sits at about 30% of books sold.

Related: Join the Book Industry Study Group and Digital Book World for the Making Information Pay for Higher Education conference at Digital Book World 2014. Learn more here!

[Press Release]

Now Available: Report Two of Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading, Volume 4

New York, NY (October 30, 2013) BISG’s Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading, powered by Nielsen Book Research and now in its fourth and final year, reveals an emerging consensus around e-books and maturing consumption patterns, with important implications for trade publishers and content creators and distributors.
Now a normal means of consuming content and offering consumers a broad range of reading options, e-book growth has slowed and currently comprises about 30% of books sold. Consumer Attitudes explores the many reasons for this and analyzes the implications for future print and physical book purchase trends. It delves into the categories and genres most and least preferred in e-book format; pricing factors; how consumers learn about new books and where they buy them; the impact of trends in device purchasing on publishing and retailing; and how readers interact with content on mobile devices, and the device enhancements they most frequently request.

New findings in the final report of Volume Four of Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading include:
–          Consumers are very interested in “bundling” print and digital versions of a book, with 48% of survey respondents willing to pay more for bundles.
–          Just over half of survey respondents would pay more for an e-book if it could be given away or re-sold.
–          Consumers do not distinguish between e-books published by traditional houses and independently published options when making buying decisions.
–          While the numbers are relatively small, there is an increase in the number of people who buy print and digital versions interchangeably with a slow decline in the number of people who exclusively buy e-books.

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 buyers,’ 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.”

Jo Henry, Director of Nielsen Book Research, commented: “It is clear from four annual research surveys that e-books are in the later stages of the innovation curve and have settled into reasonably predictable consumption patterns. The likelihood of future growth will, in part, depend on improving the value perception of e-books among less committed users.”

For added insight and context, Volume 4, Report 2 of Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading includes interviews with Mark Coker, who was shortlisted for BISG’s 2013 Disruptor Award and who is Founder and CEO of the popular e-book distributor for indie authors Smashwords, and popular indie author J.D. Nixon. It analyzes the successful strategies developed by smaller presses and other pioneering developments that may affect the use curve. The PDF version captures some of the most important new trends and can be purchased here. For those seeking more in-depth information, a subscription to the Real-Time Reporting (RTR) service is available; more information can be found here. BISG member pricing offers significant discounts for all version; membership information is available here.

BISG thanks project sponsors Barnes and Noble Inc. and Hachette Book Group for their support.

For more information and analysis of annual net unit and dollar sales by category and format including e-books for the full US publishing industry from 2008 through 2012, please refer to BookStats, the Joint Venture between the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) and the Association of American Publishers (AAP), by clicking here.

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About the Book Industry Study Group, Inc.
The Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG) is the book industry’s leading trade association for policy, standards, and research. The mission of BISG is to facilitate innovation and shared solutions for the benefit of all companies and practitioners who create, produce, and distribute published content, and the organizations that support them. Membership consists of publishers, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, librarians, and others engaged in the business of print and electronic media. For over 35 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