Through an arrangement with Google, independent booksellers began selling e-books a year ago. Although they work on the Kindle Fire, the Nook, iPad, and most smartphones, booksellers continue to field customer questions about whether they sell the Kindle. “What we have learned is that it’s a lot more about the device than we originally thought,” American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher told The Bookseller last month. “We’re aggressively in the process of trying to develop a device that our members can sell as well.”
Teicher’s assessment is borne out by statistics from Verso Digital’s third annual survey of more than 2,200 people on consumer book-buying behavior. It found plenty of room in the marketplace for an indie-branded reader. In response to the question, “If independent bookstores across the country were to market their own brand of a dedicated e-reader device, comparable in price and features to the leading competition (e.g. Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader), how likely would you be to purchase one?,” 9.5% said “very likely.” And another 18.3% were “somewhat likely.”
Among avid book buyers, those who make ten or more book purchases a year, the percentage who chose “somewhat likely” was the same. “But the percentage of ‘very likely’ respondents increases by two points to 11.5%,” says Jack McKeown, director of business development at Verso Digital and president of Books & Books in Westhampton Beach, N.Y. Among women age 45 the combined percentage of “very likely” and “somewhat likely” respondents jumped to 33.1%.
As for the price, over 72% of the respondents were looking for an indie-branded reader with an introductory price point of $99.
McKeown will present the survey, which was taken during the days immediately following Cyber Monday, at the ABA's Winter Institute in New Orleans next week and Digital Book World later this month.