survey, released yesterday, reveals that e-book consumers are buying more, but spending less in brick-and-mortar stores. "More than a third of e-book buyers decreased their spending at national chains and 29% said they are buying less from their local indie." The survey was conducted by Bowker Market Research and focused on "Power Buyers" - those who acquire e-books at least weekly, and are considered a leading market indicator of consumer trends. More than half have increased the use of apps to acquire their content, while over a third said they use primarily online retailers such as Amazon.
Among other findings of note was that dedicated e-reading devices are the preferred consumption medium for 60.9% of respondents (down slightly from 71.6%), while 17% said tablets were their device of choice (up from 13%), showing that while multimedia devices are gaining headway, the progress is slow with regard to electronic reading. Interestingly, the percentage of those who prefer their smartphone nearly doubled from 5.3% to 9.2%, indicating that the convenience of mobile access is a primary factor for many.
These highlights are taken from the report summary. The full report will set you back $6750, unless you're a member, in which case it's only $3550. However, you can download a sample of the report here (which contains some useful information, including charts showing relative market share of book formats), and the full list of survey questions asked here, just in case you're interested in answering them yourself. Subsequent updates are scheduled to appear in April, July, and October.
One telling statement from the report was that it represents "the calm before the storm" that was unleashed during the 2011 holiday season. Subsequent reports will evaluate the impact of that storm, but a few points are mentioned. For example, gifting of Kindle e-books increased 175% over last year's pre-holiday period (Amazon themselves had announced that Christmas Day was the biggest day ever for Kindle downloads). According to Bowker, "e-books accounted for 15% of all units sold in North America in the third quarter of 2011, compared with 4% in the same period of 2010." Total e-reader sales for 2011 are estimated at 63.3 million units, a veritable storm indeed. One can only imagine the effect those devices will have on this year's figures.