Dedicated e-readers are losing their hold, according to a Book Industry Study Group (BISG) survey, and paving the way for publishers to introduce richer e-book content on multi-function devices. The research indicates that, over the course of just six months, consumers’ first choice preference for dedicated e-readers declined from 72% to 58%. Tablet devices are now the most preferred reading device for more than 24% of e-book buyers, up from less than 13% in August 2011.
“The movement from dedicated e-readers to multi-function tablet devices is an important one for publishers to understand, as it allows them to deliver a richer, more interactive e-book experience,” said Angela Bole, BISG’s Deputy Executive Director. “One of the strengths of this study is that it can plot such evolution, preparing publishers for what e-book readers want and expect from them next.”
It seems the iPad may be starting to lose its firm hold on the tablet market, at least in this sector, as the increase in tablet preference was not primarily for Apple’s iPad (which rose by just over !%), but for non-Apple tablets – overwhelmingly from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. These non-Apple devices increased from 5% to 14% over the same period. The study also points to a buoyant book market. Nearly 30% of respondents in the February 2012 survey reported an increase in dollars spent on books in all formats since they began acquiring e-books, while nearly 50% reported an overall increase in the volume of titles purchased in any format.
The numbers are even rosier for the e-book market: more than 62% of respondents reported an increase in dollars spent on e-books, and more than 72% said they have increased the volume of e-titles they are buying. Some publishers are reporting that even when overall revenue has declined, profitability – particularly for e-books – has increased.