Fast Stats: Ebook Spending Slows as Print Clings to Majority Share
This summer Bowker released its 2013 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics and Buying Behaviors Annual Review, a comprehensive consumer-based report analyzing the latest trends in print, ebook and genre sales across wide-ranging demographics. Here are some highlights from the 115 page report.
Who’s selling: Amazon led book retailers with a 44% share of book spending last year, up 5% from 2011. Barnes and Noble was a distant second with a 19% share, but the company lost 7% since 2011. The drop may be a result of increased reliance on print sales with ebook spending at B&N down 2% last year.
Who’s buying: Women led book purchases in 2012, accounting for 58% of book spending, a 3% increase from the previous year. Book buyers with a median household income of $50,000-$74,999 led in both units purchased and dollars spent in 2012, with $150,000+ households purchasing and spending the least.
What are they reading: Ebook spending slowed slightly last year. While still growing at 11% compared to 7% in 2011, it didn't match the 5% increase between 2010 and 2011. Ebook growth was most noticeable in mystery, romance and science fiction categories, representing 20% of spending. Print spending outweighed digital, with hardcovers accounting for 37%, which is down significantly from 2009 spending at 46%.
Why are they reading: 66% of books buyers read for pleasure in 2012. Reading for information trailed in second at 11%. The most important factor that led to book discovery in 2012 remained the author. 23% of book buyers purchased books because they liked the author. Only 4% purchased due to customer reviews.
Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.