iPad Owners Not Using the Device to Read E-Books?
Approximately 40 percent of iPad owners "have not used the device to read a single e-book," according to a press release issued yesterday regarding a new report from media and publishing forecast firm Simba Information, "Trade E-Book Publishing 2011," based on a national study. This figure suggests that the device is used for games and other media instead, according to Simba.
One could wonder why the 40 percent not using the device to read e-books is being stressed, when the higher number, 60 percent—by the process of deduction—have used the device to read at least one e-book. Is that number not significant?
"The penetration of such a new device is impressive given how many have been sold, but the 60 percent figure" includes everyone who may have read one page of one free book to those who have read many books, explains Michael Norris, senior analyst at Simba Information's Trade Book Group and author of the report.
In addition, Norris stresses, "I've always been of the mindset that we, as an industry, spend far too much time with the people we already know to be book buyers. If we're serious about growing our industry, we have to start with the people just don't buy books. There are over 100 million people like that in this country alone, and we're screwing ourselves if we don't sell the activity of reading to them," he says.
"I'm stressing the 40 percent figure because when the industry talks about devices that are sold, they suggest that each one represents a brand-new consumer; but not everybody treats and uses tablet devices the same. So even though book content can be 'accessed' by millions of iPad owners, millions of iPad owners choose not to access it," he continues.
"We also need to remember the iPad has been around a very short while, and given the additional capabilities of the device and the list of non-reading activities consumers can do on it getting longer by the day, I just wonder if the 40 percent figure this year will grow to 45 percent next year," he notes. "So after the iPad has been around a while, we'll see what extent people are using it for reading books versus who is using it to play Angry Birds.
"It's also worth noting that e-books have the same problem as print books here: How do I get people engaged with my content? Because a very similar proportion of adults who don't buy books at all [in any format] is over 40 percent, so it's not a question of whether content can be accessed, but whether it is being valued," Norris notes.
Tablet owners don't make up the majority of e-book users, the report revealed, with 45 percent of survey respondents citing the PC or Mac as their e-reading device.
"A lot of people equate the sale of a new gadget with the creation of a new reader, and it just doesn't happen," says Norris. "In both the offline and online world, there are a lot of independent factors and distractions that will keep a person from discovering and enjoying a book."
The report also revealed a shift in the demographic breakdown of the e-book buying population, with women now outnumbering men for the first time. In 2009, Simba had found that 13 percent of men and 9 percent of women had purchased an e-book.
The report, "Trade E-Book Publishing 2011," includes an analysis of e-book consumption for smart phone and tablet devices, including Amazon's Kindle, Apple's iPad and iPhone and Barnes and Noble's Nook, as well as projections on which devices are expected to lead through 2013. In addition, the report provides a complete demographic profile of the e-book reader and features an extensive look at the best performing e-book titles, authors, imprints and categories. It is available for online download (for $3,250) or hardcopy deliver ($3,450).