Windows into the Imagination

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Changing World of Book Buying

From recent numbers by Bowker Market Research, we find some interesting things about the changing landscape of the book buying public.

Bowker Market Research numbers

Global Ebook Research

From the Diversity of Where Books are Sold chart (i.e. out of 100 books, where were they bought from)

26% of people buy their books from bookstores (this means physical books). 39% buy from estores (this means BOTH ebooks AND physical books, not just ebooks alone).

That makes 65% of all books are bought either online or in traditional bookstores.

7% is by direct-to-customer or Other means.

That means that 28% of books are sold by independent bookstores, bookclubs, supermarkets, religious bookstores...all of which are paper or hard cover books, because you don't buy ebooks from those places.

So, from the Diversity of Where Books are Sold chart, 26+28=54% + the number of non-ebooks sold online > means more paper books are sold than ebooks.

This makes sense from the Book Buyer Behavior chart.

While 50% haven't changed their book buying habits,

13% are buying more used books or swapping books. These have to be physical books because you can't buy a used ebook or swap ebooks.

12% borrow more books from the library. While there is a way to borrow ebooks from the library, the majority is still physical books.

8% buy more paperbacks now than hard back books. Well that's pretty evident.

6% are swapping books with each other, which appears to be a redundant number since that was covered in the 13% earlier.

Only 5% are buying more ebooks to download.

The one troubling statistic is that 21% of people are buying less books, of any kind, than before.

From the other survey of Global Ebook buying, we get these numbers from the US.

With a base of online adults, 12% are unaware of ebooks or the ability to download books, 68% are aware of ebooks but have NEVER downloaded any.

Only 20% who are aware of ebooks have actually bought and downloaded them. This is in the US.

More men have bought and downloaded ebooks than women.

Of book buyers, the largest age group that downloads ebooks is 25-34 in the US, with 30% of that age group downloading at least one book in the last six months. That percentage drops dramatically outside of that age group. These are numbers from people who buy books, not the general public. So if only 30% of people aged 25-34 who buy books, buy ebooks, it doesn't take much guessing to realize that the rest buy paper or hardcover books.

Interesting numbers, don't you think?

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