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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Who buys eBooks?

A fascinating study by market researcher Bowker reveals much

A headline in that useful but frustratingly difficult-to-use network Linked-In prompted me to head for the Bowker website (link in the header of this), to find out intriguing facts and figures about eBook buying.

If you have bought an eBook recently, you are most likely to live in Australia, India, the UK or the US.  If you didn't buy one, the chances are that you are French or Japanese.

Earlier this year, ten countries were surveyed (NZ not one of them): Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea (marked as S ... in all the graphs), Spain, the UK and the US. This was done by Bowker on behalf of ProQuest, and was intended to find out buying attitudes to the burgeoning eBook market. 

Interestingly, while the figures for the two countries were currently low, there is every indication that the eBook market is going to surge in Brazil and India.  Over 50% of respondents indicated that they were likely to buy an eBook in the next few months.

If you look at the graph above, you will see that unless an eBook buyer is British or Yankee, he is more likely to be male, with Germany showing the great divergence between men and women.  The eBook buyer is also likely to be young: interest in the book revolution lessened with age.  And, Brits and Aussies are most likely to buy fiction, while in India and South Korea academic and professional textbooks are the ones that win out.

If you are interested in the background of this study:  The Global eBook Monitor (GeM) tracks consumer purchases of e-books, and attitudes about e-books, in ten major world markets and aims to inform the publishing industry during a critical period of change. An annual study, over time it will create a unique view of market shifts in response to new digital formats. GeM currently operates in partnership with Pearson, Tata Consultancy Services, AT Kearney, and Book Industry Study Group (BISG). It employs online surveys hosted by Lightspeed Research or their affiliates in 9 countries, and by MTi in the US¹. The minimum number of respondents in each country was 1000; samples were designed and weighted to be representative of the adult (18+) population in terms of age, sex and region, but were by definition drawn from the online population only.

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