New Study: Is Increased iPad Adoption a Death Knell for Print? Hardly, says Michael Norris of Simba's new report.
-About half of iPad owners don’t use them to read ebooks at all
-iPad owners who do buy ebooks spend more on ebooks than the average ebook-using adult
-iPad owners who don’t read ebooks tend to buy more print books than the general population (though, Norris explains, “that’s a lot less interesting that I made it sound” as iPad owners tend to consume more of everything—books, newspapers, TV, radio—than the general population).
Norris is firm, however, that he does not predict a death knell for print books, ever.
“There are certain things about print that are incredibly valuable to consumers,” says Norris. “I have a book on my shelf at home that is nine decades old. It was published by Popular Mechanics in 1919, I think. It will work when I open it up. Print books are something you can pass on, and give as gifts. That is something where the physical book has had a big strength.”
Norris points to the holiday retail season, and its industry-boosting Q4 spikes, as proof that print’s future is not diminished by the rise of ebook reading. He’s bullish that there are ways for print and digital to work more synergistically, pointing to methods from the world of direct marketing—tracking codes and measuring response—to link revenue back to the point of discovery, and to ameliorate the issue of low-margin bricks-and-mortar retailers subsidizing high-margin e-tailers.
“It would be fantastic,” says Norris, “if print books had something on the spine so you could browse the book store—the way we always do—and when you see a book that you want, you can scan [a code] that asks, ‘Do you want to buy this book as an audio book? As an ebook?’ and you can do it right there. That way the book store actually gets to cash in on some of its value.”