Many readers cite the price of eBooks as one of the primarily aspects of why they choose to read digitally. A new report by Books and e-Books UK 2014 is trying to quantify the parallel between cheaper books and reading more. Their data suggests 26% of consumers who have bought an eBook in the last year are reading more than they used to, because eBooks cost less than paperbacks, a figure that rises to 38% of 16 to 24-year-olds.
21% of Brits have bought a fiction eBook in the past year, the boom does seem to be plateauing as this marks a slight 1% point growth on 2013. However, this is a rise from the 15% of Brits claiming they had bought a digital fiction title in 2012.
Whilst the sales of e-books are still showing healthy growth, there are signs that this will steady in 2014. Sales of eBooks are estimated to reach £340 million in 2014 up from £300 million in 2013, marking a 12% rise. However this rise is in stark contrast to the growth seen in previous years. Sales in 2013 for example were 38% up on 2012, which stood at £216 million. In contrast, sales of print books are estimated to stay at £1.4 billion in 2014, the same value as 2013 which would mark just a 0.4% year on year fall in revenue.
Samuel Gee, Senior Technology and Media Analyst at Mintel said “Today, 31% of Brits own an e-reader, up from 21% in 2012, but down from 35% in April 2014. Indeed, it seems that the growth of the e-reader has not caused UK book-lovers to clear their shelves. Over a third (36%) of UK book buyers buy both e-books and print books and 42% of these say that they will always buy the cheapest version of the book no matter which format it is in. Further showing that those who have picked up their e-readers aren’t leaving printed books altogether, seven in 10 (70%) e-reader owners have bought a paperback in the past year. In contrast, just 30% of print book buyers have also purchased digitally.
Overall, a third (32%) of Brits have not bought a book in the past year and it seems that the most common reason is that they are not interested in reading. Indeed, a third (34%) of Brits who have not purchased a book in the past year are simply not interested in reading books, rising to 42% of men who haven’t purchased a book. On the other hand, one in five (21%) say they do not have time to read books and 12% say they can’t afford to buy them.
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 CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.