On PaidContent, Laura Hazard Owen reports on some interesting findings from a Twitter discussion about e-book buyer behavior based on comments from book industry research organization representatives. The research reps suggest that limits on e-book sharing are limiting e-book adoption.
The reps point out that consumers really like reading free e-books (about half of e-book buyers read free e-books) and expect e-book prices to stay low or drop lower. Half of all e-readers are given as gifts, but less than 1% of e-books are.
Barriers to widespread e-book adoption are limits on sharing, borrowing and reselling. These issues need to be addressed before more jump on the e-book bandwagon, Bowker’s Carl Kulo said. (Kindle library lending is on the way. You might see the ability to resell your e-books on Kindle roughly when hell freezes over.)
As I pointed out a few days ago, one of the drivers of casual “piracy” is readers’ feeling that they should be able to “lend” books they’ve paid for to friends or family. But in order to do that, the would-be pirates have to be savvy enough to strip the DRM (which has gotten easier, but still requires some nontrivial technical knowledge). The inability to share e-books without having to do all that could be keeping people from buying.
Of course, as the article points out, publishers will probably do something about that “roughly when hell freezes over.”