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 has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve 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. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.