PRESS RELEASEE-Book Buyers are Buying More but Spending Less, says BISG Study

On-going research survey into habits of e-book buyers reveals impact on businesses, from publishing to technology

New York, NY (November 17, 2010) -- E-book consumers say they are buying more books overall, but fewer in print, and are decreasing their total dollars spent, according to new research from the Book Industry Study Group (BISG). The sales shift is just one key finding in the first installment of the 2010-2011 cycle of BISG's Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading survey set.

Since November 2009, Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading has been tracking the habits and preferences of print book buyers who say they have acquired an e-book or dedicated e-reading device within the past 18 months. The 2010-2011 cycle is being sponsored by Baker & Taylor, Harlequin, HarperCollins Publishers, Levy Home Entertainment, Pearson and Publishing Technology.

"Earlier this year we reported that e-book readers cite 'affordability' as a key priority in choosing an e-book over its print counterpart. Now, we're seeing how that might translate to bottom line revenue," said Scott Lubeck, BISG's Executive Director. "The on-going BISG baseline study of consumer behavior toward e-books and e-book reading devices is essential to an understanding of both the velocity of change and its significance to every stakeholder in the book industry."

Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading is the first study to capture data from hundreds of book buyers who also identify themselves as e-book readers. Respondents were first surveyed during a 2009-2010 cycle (November 2009 to July 2010) to find out when, why, how and where they purchase and use both e-books and e-readers, providing a baseline measure of impact in a dynamic market. Both the 2009−2010 cycle and the new 2010-2011 cycle are powered by Bowker's PubTrack Consumer.

Results from the 2010-2011 cycle provide revelations, for the first time, into the impact of the iPad on e-book purchases and use of traditional e-reader devices like Kindle and NOOK.

"So far, iPad shows only marginal impact on the popularity of Kindle and NOOK," said Kelly Gallagher, Vice President of Publishing Services of New Providence, NJ-based Bowker. "It appears that heavy to moderate book buyers want a dedicated device for reading that doesn't have a lot of distractions bundled with it. However, we do see that iPad owners may influence overall sales by bringing new and light e-book buyers into the market."

Related, the research found that e-reader functionality beyond displaying content, at least so far, is less important to self-proclaimed serious readers.

Additional findings include:

  • E-book buyers are buying fewer print books: more than 40% of survey respondents say they have reduced the number and dollars spent on hardcover and paperback books.
  • Publishers are declining as a source of information about upcoming e-books, being replaced by retailers.
  • General fiction and mystery fiction are the fastest growing genres for e-books.
  • Third parties play an important role in device acquisition: survey respondents say they more often received their device as a gift. Thus, the upcoming holiday season could have a profound impact on e-book reading.
  • When purchasing for themselves, survey respondents say they are most often motivated by a suggestion from a friend.

Data for Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading was derived from a nationally representative panel of book consumers (men, women and teens). Each month a new group of 3,000 respondents complete surveys about their book purchasing behavior as part of PubTrack Consumer, a service of Bowker. Out of nearly 65,000 possible panelists drawn from the last 18 months, respondents were qualified for the BISG e-book survey by indicating they had either purchased a "digital book or e-book" or owned a dedicated e-reader device (such as Kindle, NOOK, or Sony Reader). This process yielded a survey sample of 750 e-book consumers.

The survey findings are available for sale both as a PDF summary report and as a complete data compendium, accessible online. A substantial discount is available for BISG members. For more information, or to order a copy of Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading, visit

Media Contact:
Angela Bole
Book Industry Study Group, Inc.

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About Book Industry Study Group, Inc.
The Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG) is the U.S. book industry's leading trade association for policy, standards and research. The mission of BISG is to create a more informed, empowered and efficient book industry supply chain for both physical and digital products. Membership consists of publishers, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, librarians, and others engaged in the business of print and electronic media. For over 30 years, BISG has provided a forum for all industry professionals to come together and efficiently address issues and concerns to advance the book community. Learn more about BISG at

About Bowker
Bowker is the world's leading provider of bibliographic information management solutions designed to help publishers, booksellers and libraries better serve their customers. The company is focused on developing various tools and products that make books easier for people to discover, evaluate, order and experience, as well as providing services to publishers that help them better understand and meet the interests of readers worldwide. Bowker is a member of the ProQuest family of companies and is headquartered in New Providence, N.J., with additional operations in England and Australia. For more information, visit

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