There are almost as many e-book surveys as there are digital conferences. Two new surveys released last week provided more information, one on the impact digital readers have had on consumers' reading and book-buying habits, while a second examined the impact of digital publishing on the industry.
The most important takeaway from the Harris Interactive online survey of 2,183 adults conducted between July 11 and 18 is that 15% of adults have already bought an e-reader (including tablets) and another 15% said they plan to buy one within the next six months. Readers who use digital devices also reported that they are buying more books and reading more than they did in the past. While 32% of all adults said they have not bought a book in the past year, only 6% of adults with e-readers have not bought a title. And 36% of e-reader users said they read more than one year ago, while only 8% said they read less. Twenty-four percent of adults who don't use digital devices said they are reading less.
Aptara's third annual industry survey received responses from 1,350 publishers in all segments of the business. While all segments—trade, STM, college, k–12, and corporate—posted gains in e-book sales, it was the trade segment that has shown the most growth in terms of sales and participation in the e-book market. The percentage of trade publishers producing e-books, for example, has risen from 50% in 2009 to 76% in 2011. The STM category had the second highest level of participation, with 64% of publishers reporting that they are currently producing e-books.
In addition, the survey found that EPub has gained traction across all publishing segments in terms of the devices and platforms publishers are targeting e-books for. While 18% of all publishers are making their e-books available for the Kindle, 15% are targeting dedicated EPub devices and another 15% are publishing for Apple devices using EPub. Nineteen percent of all publishers still target personal computers for their e-books, a figure that is especially high in the STM and k–12 markets, but low in the trade segment.
While the survey covered the entire industry, the focus of the accompanying By the Numbers is on the trade market.