Wednesday, March 4, 2015

E-book vs Print Books

I was curious as to how e-books compare to print books. Everyone has a different perspective on how the market views the e-book in today’s world.

Nearly 70 percent of consumers feel it is unlikely that they will give up on printed books by 2016.  Consumers have an emotional and visceral/sensory attachment to printed books, potentially elevating them to a luxury item.

Despite their perceived popularity, 60% of eBooks downloaded are never read in the US.  Since 2012, the growth of eBooks has slowed significantly as dedicated eReader sales are declining, and tablet PC devices are increasingly becoming utilized for other forms of entertainment.

College students prefer printed textbooks to eBooks as they help students to concentrate on the subject matter at hand; electronic display devices such as tablet PCs tempt students to distraction.

Current trends reveal that while fewer copies of books are being sold, more titles are being published.

The top three reasons consumers choose a printed book are: Lack of eye strain when reading from paper copy vs. an eBook; the look and feel of paper, and the ability to add it to a library or bookshelf.

The study surveyed more than 800 respondents, with the following demographic profile:

Gender: 55% female, 45% male
Average age: 39 years old
Education 0.2% have not completed high school (1 respondent)
36% have a high school degree
49% have an undergraduate degree
15% have a graduate or higher degree

Another point of view from Publishing a Book is an Adventure says this.

The publishing statistics 2013 present the e-book market share in the US from January 2012 to January 2013. In January 2012, the market share amounted to 26.7 percent.

E-book sales have been expanding steadily in the United States and e-books make up an ever growing portion of the US consumer book sales market. While in 2009, e-books accounted for a mere 2.7%share of total consumer book sales, by 2012, e-books had grown to 14.9 % of the global book market according to Pricewaterhouse Coopers. E-book sales revenue reached a whopping 3.3 billion US dollars in 2012. In the US, between January 2012 and November 2012, the market share of the e-book fluctuated between a high of 26.7 percent (January 2012) and a low of 17 percent (October 2012). On the global scale, projections from Pricewaterhouse Coopers suggest that worldwide e-book market share could reach 17.9 percent by 2016.

The popularity of e-books and e-readers goes hand in hand—consumers are buying the new, mobile gadgets with which they read, amass e-book libraries, play games and shop online for new e-books. Publishing statistics pertaining to the penetration rate of ereaders in the US vary. According to the results of one survey, the share of Americans using e-readers rose from 15 percent in 2011 to 28 percent in 2012. EMarketer estimated that the (e-reader penetration) was closer to 15.40 percent in 2012, and projected penetration would rise to 19.20 percent by 2016.

The leading e-reader vendors worldwide in 2012 were Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Sony. Amazon sells the Kindle Fire and holds roughly 55 percent of the global e-reader market. In the American market, the Barnes and Noble Nook accounted for 22 percent of e-reader ownership in 2012. Sales of the Kindle Fire from Amazon reached 5.50 million units in 2011 and were projected to reach 27.8 million units in 2014.

Revenue from sales of content from the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet were forecast at 981.9 million US dollars in 2012.

The global revenue from ebooks sales is set to continue rising, the US still leading the ebooks sale revenue rising tide, with Europeans slowly growing their market share whilst Asia, an early adopter, steadily continues to grow its own share as shown below.

19.5%: The proportion of all books sold in the U.S. that are Kindle titles. E-books now make up around 30% of all book sales, and Amazon has a 65% share within that category, with Apple  and Barnes & Noble  accounting for most of the balance.

So it looks like print books ae still a consumer’s choice, but e-books are creeping up. It will be interesting to see how they do next year. 


  1. I primarily read books on my tablet because I can carry over 200 books with me and have access to my own novels to show someone, should the opportunity present itself. I have noticed I have some vision issues after reading my tablet for awhile - similar to the problem of working on my computer. I'm 72 and wear trifocals, so perhaps the few minutes it takes to see the "real world" more clearly after reading on a tablet rather than a printed book is mostly an issue of my age.

    1. It could be that age thing, but sometimes I think it's backlight and focusing on small screens. While you can adjust the print size, I think it's easier to read a paperback. Thanks for dropping by.

  2. I like both! I like traveling with my ereader and having print books by my bed. I think it has helped when createspace and their kind began printing books too.

    1. Good point, Vicki, about Createspace and others printing books so authors can have their choice as we'll as the readers.

  3. I still buy both! There are some authors I keep on the shelf and some I have to have immediately!

    1. That is one of the great things about e-books. You need something to read? A few clicks and it's on your ereader.