A new survey was recently released by Ofcom, undertaken by Kantar Media and made possible by financial support from the UK Intellectual Property Office. It is very apparent that the vast majority of the UK’s digital readers are doing business with Amazon and to a lesser extent all the other digital bookstores. 79% of the people polled from March to May 2013 have used Amazon’s Kindle platform to download, access, or share e-books in the last three months.
Amazon is the bookstore of choice in the UK by a long shot and all of the others have single digit presence in one of the world’s top publishing markets. Apple’s iBookstore was the second most used ebook platform, with 9% of respondents saying that was their preferred choice. Google’s search engine was the third most popular platform, used by 8% of people. Google Play has a 6% share, while 5% of respondents accessed or downloaded e-books from email, 5% from Kobo, and 4% through Facebook. According to the survey, Waterstones has a 3% share of the UK e-book market, along with uTorrent, a platform for Microsoft Windows and Android.
What is very interesting about this survey is that Barnes and Noble has not even cracked the top ten. Considering how much money they are investing in advertising and slashing of hardware prices, customers are not responding.
During the survey period, customers spent close to £525m, equating to £9.79 for every person in the UK, or £26.19 for people actively buying books. This is a fair amount of sales, but customers are voicing their disdain for higher than average ebook prices. A large majority at 81% indicated they would be prepared to pay at an entry price of £2 for an ebook. The average price respondents were willing to pay for ebooks was £3.74.
The final aspect of the survey discussed the proclivities of pirating digital content. Only 1% of the UK survey respondents claimed to engage in the shady aspects of pirating ebooks via file sharing websites. The most interesting detail is that the book pirates actually spend more money on books then your average customers. Book pirates spent around £27.46 on average on digital and physical books than those who accessed all their e-books legally, who claimed to spent £23.77 on average.
To get a better sense of what specific books are being pirated, check out our Good e-Reader Bestseller List. We track all of the major file sharing websites to provide publishers and readers with valuable metrics on what books and genres are being pirated the most.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.