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Report: consumers switch between print and e-books

Christian Science Monitor

Published in The Christian Science Monitor.

After all the e-book fanfare, bookless libraries, and publicized e-reader releases, it looks like the future of reading may not be exclusively electronic after all.

E-book consumers are becoming more diverse in their format preferences, according to a new report by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG). The percentage of e-book consumers who “exclusively or mostly” bought books in electronic format decreased from nearly 70 percent in August 2011 to 60 percent in May 2012 – that’s a 10 percent drop in exclusive e-reader usage in less than a year.

After the industry – and many readers – wholeheartedly jumped on the “e-“ bandwagon, why the drop? Are folks deliberately moving away from e-books? That doesn’t appear to be the case, according to study results. Instead, it seems, readers are simply becoming format agnostic. According to the BISG report, the percentage of survey respondents who had no preference for either e-book or print formats, or who bought books in both formats, rose from 25 percent in August 2011 to 34 percent in May 2012. In other words, readers don’t feel committed to one format or the other and are comfortable switching from print to electronic books.


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