This survey was based on 1,500 Goodreads members. The results were presented last week at O’Reilly TOC, and based on the first half of the slides I think Otis Chandler was at TOC to meet with publishers and pitch Goodreads’ user base as a survey group. (I’m not complaining; I just thought some publishers would be interested.)
Goodreads found that 37% of the members who owned smartphones read on them, with about 13% not reading ebooks on any other device. In comparison, 86% of tablet owners read on their device, with nearly a third reporting that the tablet was their only reading device.
There’s no obvious explanation for the sharp difference in usage, but the survey does show that smartphone owners are far more likely to use them on the go, with lunch breaks and commuting as the most common reading scenario. Tablet owners, on the other hand, are more likely to read at home than anywhere else.
Good reads also mentioned that during this past holiday season tablets outnumbered ereaders under the Christmas tree. Three and a half times as many tablets were bought for each ereader purchased, confirming once again that the ebook market has moved beyond ereader hardware.
And when it comes to finding their next read, it seems that the vast majority of Goodreads members do what I do. When they finish a book, 83% seek out other books written by the author, while nearly as many look for similar books (75%). But when it comes to picking a book to read, nothing compares to word of mouth. A trusted friend was the single leading reason that members bought and read books, with reviews, samples, and buzz not even coming close.
Later in the survey the respondents revealed that price isn’t necessarily the dominant factor in where they buy ebooks, with only 44% reporting that they usually shopped around before buying. And less than half of that 44% always shop around.
And when readers do shop around, it will likely come as no surprise to learn who has the most loyal customers. It’s not Apple; 65% of the people who read in iBooks also use read Kindle ebooks (and over a quarter read Nook ebooks). And Barnes & Noble also has to share their customers with Amazon (37%).
But Amazon doesn’t have the same issue. Readers of Kindle ebooks are much more loyal than any other segment of the market, with only 18% also reading in iBooks and 15% reading Nook ebooks. This more than anything is an example of why Amazon has dominated the ebook market; they have a loyalty that cannot be matched.
BTW, Kobo placed a distant 4th in the “also read” category, coming in behind Google Play. No matter how impressive one might find their jump in revenue last year they’re still not making a lot of gains in the US market.