A just released survey* by UK market research company Mintel confirms that the price and availability of eBooks are encouraging people to read more. Whilst it would be nice to have an Australian survey to compare it to (hint to all market research companies out there!), we can probably safely assume that there are more similarities than differences in market trends.
The Mintel survey found that:
- One in four (26%) of eBook buyers read more because eBooks are cheaper than paperbacks
- Price is an even bigger factor amongst younger readers in the 16-24 age group, with 38% reading more because eBooks are cheaper;
- About a third (31%) of eBook buyers said they still preferred print books but bought eBooks because they cost less;
- 23% of book buyers believe that print books are too expensive whereas only 16% said they same about eBooks;
- Over a third (36%) of the UK readers surveyed buy both print and eBooks, with nearly half (42%) of this group saying they will always buy the cheapest version of the book, no matter what the format;
- 7/10 eReader owners have bought a paperback in the the past year BUT
- only 3/10 print book buyers have also purchased eBooks AND
- over 36% of UK book buyers say they generally read print books but buy eBooks when travelling for work or holidays.
The Mintel study also revealed that Brits now buy more fiction thanks to the innovation of eBooks. There was a 6% year-on-year increase in the sale of fiction titles from 2012 to 2013.
There are clear distinctions between male and female reading habits:
- Most women (86%) of women have read a book in the past year, but only 74% of men have done the same;
- Women are more likely to read in either print or digital format;
- Women are also more likely to favour fiction. 63% of woman have purchased a novel in the last 12 months compared to 48% of men.
When it comes to NOT reading, about a third of Brits have not purchased a book in the last 12 months:
- 34% said it was because they were not interested in reading – although this figure rises to 42% in men;
- 21% said they do have time to read them, and
- 12% say they can’t afford to buy them.
The survey results are fascinating. Long live the story, I say. And long live libraries and librarians too (seemingly left out of the survey, surprisingly), to nurture those of us going through tough times.