On one hand, the rapidly growing adoption of eBooks is great. I mean, anyone who has ever played with a Kindle has to be impressed by the convenience of the whole system. In only a few seconds after I decide that I want to read the new Murakami book, I can have it in my hands. Plus, anything that allows for more access to books is okay in my book (apologies).
On the other hand, I’m a huge fan of book – real, tangible book that I can hold in my hand and unconsciously flick the page corners between by fingers as I read. I love the smell, and the sound it makes when I turn a page. I’m kind of a book romantic.
And I’m also a bookstore romantic. One of the best places on Earth is a great brick-and-mortar bookstore. And according to a report from the Book Industry Study Group, eBook readers are forgoing the trip to the local bookstore.
No, this isn’t a “print is dead” story. Quite the contrary. The report (which comes as volume three of a consumer study of attitudes toward book reading) shows that all forms of book purchasing are up. “E-book consumers are increasing their purchase of books — both print and e-book formats — online and especially through in-app purchasing,” says the study.
More than half of the respondents said that they have increased their use of app to buy books and more and a third said that they have increased their use of online retail sites (like Amazon.com) to purchase both eBooks and print books.
It’s the brick-and-mortar stores that appear to be hurting from this. More than a third of the respondents said that they have decreased their spending at national chains and 29% said the same thing about indie bookstores.
“The e-book market is developing very quickly, with consumer attitudes and behavior changing over the course of months, rather than years,” said Angela Bole, BISG’s Deputy Executive Director. “One of the strengths of this study is its ability to monitor ‘Power Buyers.’ They are predictors of where the market is moving, providing us with an ideal opportunity to look at what’s coming next.”
So, the “power buyers” are staying home, and that can’t make bookstore owners very happy.
Another interesting thing unearthed by this study involves which device folks are using to read their eBooks. The amount of people using all-purpose tablets (not specific eReaders) increased by 4% from the previous survey. And as hard as this is for me to comprehend, 3.9% more people reported to using their smartphones to read their eBooks.