Saturday, January 23, 2010

Book Industry Study Group e-book survey

There's a new study out in publishing town, the BISG survey on e-book consumerism. (Via Richard Curtis.)

New York, NY (January 15, 2010) -- In a benchmark survey -- the first of three to be released this year -- the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG) has just revealed concrete consumer data collected directly from book readers that addresses how print book buyers access, purchase and use e-books and e-readers.
"For example," Bole continues, "the survey found that 30% of print book buyers would wait up to three months to purchase the e-book edition of a book by their favorite author. This kind of information can inform decisions publishers need to make today about when and how to publish e-book editions."

This doesn't quite ring true for me. That is, I think these respondents are speaking from intent rather than reality. Sure, I tell myself I'll take a look at such-and-such a book in the Kindle edition, when it's finally released, but, y'know, I forget. There's a lot of information out there and new info tends to bump old info aside. Now if Amazon/the Big Six publishers would let me download the sample chapter to my Kindle I could read it immediately and then, if I liked it, pre-order the full book which would arrive on pub. date and sort of twinkle at me until I read it. But I'm not going to pre-order something I can't taste first. And, really, now hard is it to send out a free chapter a few months in advance? Where I'm concerned, planning to buy a Kindle edition doesn't lead to a lost print sale; I don't buy print novels anymore. But not having the sample chapter available on p-pub date does lead to a lost e-book sale. No matter how affordable it is when it's finally released.

And Kindle editions are affordable. According to the survey, affordability is "the #1 reason they would choose to purchase an e-book rather than a print book of the same title."

This isn't the whole truth, either. Yes, I've bought more novels for my Kindle this last year than print novels in the last two or three years put together. And, yes, to some degree those purchases are based on price. ($9 is so much better than $27. In NG arithmetic, one third of the price = three times better.) But mostly it's a convenience issue: right here, right now, and doesn't weigh too much. (Carrying around a Stephen King book? For crazy people, or people with staff. Or people who don't have a gym membership but made a resolution to finally get fit this year.)

So do you agree with the survey findings?

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