One common justification for high ebook prices is the claim that ebook sales tend to increase at the cost of sales of paper books. While that is certainly true in my case, a study which was recently released by the University of Hamburg suggests that I might be an outlier.
This study, which was released with the Frankfurt Book Fair this week, shows that 22% of digital readers also buy 3 or more hardback books a year. That is more than the average readers who don’t use ebooks; only 15% buy those 3 or more hardbacks a year. The report also showed that the digital reader tended to buy as many paperbacks as they did before adopting ebooks, though there was slightly more purchases among some digital readers.
This report also revealed that digital readers spent around 50 euros a year on ebooks, while the survey group as a whole spent about 115 euros on paper books. And while it was not the preferred site, almost everyone had bought from Amazon at least once (79%). The most shopped bookstore, much to my surprise, was Thalia (24%), followed by Weltbild/Hugendubel (20%), iTunes/iBooks(19%), Project Gutenberg (7%), and Libri.de (7%) .
I don’t have many more details from the study (I’m still looking for it), but I do have one interesting detail. This study is based on a survey of 2,500 German readers, and 1157 read ebooks. That’s a remarkably high percentage. The latest data in the US dates from this Spring, and that showed that only about 30% of US readers had adopted ebooks. Hopefully this is a sign that ebooks are catching on and catching up in Germany.
image by stu_spivack