Publishing forecast firm Simba Information has released the highly anticipated fourth edition of its flagship Trade E-Book Publishing report series and estimates 17% of U.S. adults have read at least one e-book in 2011, up from the 11% who did so in 2010. In keeping with the report’s tradition of measuring the commitment individual adults have to e-books, the percentage of adults who bought e-books was shown to be 11% of adults — up from 9%.
“The e-book market is expanding, but the gap between ‘users’ and ‘buyers’ grew more than expected in 2011,” said Michael Norris, senior analyst of Simba Information’s Trade Books Group, commenting on the findings. “Making the distinction between those who read and those who buy is an unbelievably important one, and we’re proud to do it for the fourth year of this report.”
Some of the usual book consumption habits still remain. The report finds that about four times as many adults bought a paperback book compared to an e-book. The children’s and young adult (YA) market continues to lag behind the digital development of adult trade: the report shows about 23% of all adults bought at least one children’s/YA print book in 2011 while just 4% purchased a children’s or YA e-book.
Another finding in the device analysis was that more consumers have begun reading e-books through tablet devices, but not every tablet goes to a new reader. Findings in the report conclude one in 10 Kindle owners have updated their Kindles in the past three months — almost certainly to the new Kindle Fire. Additionally, 53% of iPad owners — up from 40% in last year’s report — do not use e-books at all.
“The whole issue about e-books isn’t about whether customers can access content, but whether they will engage with content,” Norris said. “It’s a tougher problem and we hope this report will go a long way to help solve it by understanding e-book users and e-book buyers.”
“Trade E-book Publishing 2012” includes analysis on how much money e-book users spend on digital titles and a full psychographic analysis to profile e-book user habits like never before. Since the proprietary data is collected regularly, Simba has added specific devices to its nationally representative survey as they came to market. Devices profiled in this edition include Barnes & Noble’s Nook line, smartphones (including the iPhone), Amazon’s Kindle devices, Apple’s iPad and more. The report also analyzes devices based on specifications, such as E-Ink screens versus the increasingly common color touchscreens. Projections on which devices are expected to lead though 2014 — and which are expected to fall — are provided in the report.
The report also tracks demographics of book buyers on gender, age, household income, education level and more — and provides triple the value of the information by showing demographic details of all e-book users, e-book users who have received free e-books in the past 12 months.