The percentage of consumers are buying titles in digital formats has fallen, but more people are also saying they have no preference when it comes to the format of a book, according to the latest Book Industry Study Group e-book reading survey.
Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading reports the portion of consumers who “exclusively or mostly” buy e-books fell from nearly 70% in August 2011 to 60% just nine months later. At the same time, the percentage of respondents who either had no preference between e-book or print formats, or who bought some of both, went up from 25% to 34%, signaling that consumers have become more comfortable with a variety of reading formats.
The study found that ownership of the Amazon Kindle Fire has increased from 7% to 20% of respondents from December 2011 to June 2011, and that the use of multifunctional tables as a primary reading device is growing at about the same pace that the preference for dedicated e-readers has dropped. Preference for the Kindle as a primary reading device fell from 48% in August 2011 to 35% in May 2012, while black-and-white and color versions of the Nook e-reader slipped from 17% to 13% over the same period.
The Apple iPad remained steady in the ownership survey at 17% from August 2011 to May 2012, but now trails the Kindle Fire in the ownership category. The number of respondents who use the iPad as an e-reader also dipped from 10% to 9%.
While the iPad may have moved into second place in the BISG consumer survey, Student Monitor found that 66% of respondents to its survey of 1,200 college students say that the iPad was the “in” device on campus, even though fewer than 12% actually own one. At the same time, the Student Monitor research showed that 88% of students own a laptop computer, 19% have desktops, and just 10% say they own a tablet.
The research also found students’ preference in course material formats may be shifting. Printed textbooks continue to dominate sales, but students saying they “prefer traditional textbooks” has declined from 50% two years ago to 39% in the most recent Student Monitor report.