The ebook survey was conducted as part of a larger survey into media consumption habits in the UK. While I cannot criticize the specific of what’s wrong with other sections of the survey, the section on ebooks was tragically and obviously flawed.
A total of 5734 Brits were polled by Kantar Media for the survey, and of that number a total of 631 had reported using ebooks in the past 3 months.
That is only 11% of the survey group, and is a rather small figure. It is also somewhat unlikely to be true or accurate.
Past surveys have shown that somewhere between a third of adults in the UK and a third of UK household own an ereader. I’m not going to insist that one survey or another is more likely to be accurate, but I do wish to point out that they contradict and should be taken with a grain of salt.
And that’s not the only example of this survey report’s questionable accuracies. There’s a second huge goof in the report that renders one of the more important results completely worthless.
I am referring to the chart in the survey report that listed where respondents got their ebooks.
Amazon ranked first, with about 79% of respondents reporting that they got some or all of their ebooks from the retail giant. Of course, that survey question also showed that not all of that 79% got all their ebooks via Amazon; many also sourced their ebooks elsewhere.
iBooks was the second most popular (9%), with Google (search engine, 8%), Google Play Books(6%), and eBooks.com (6%) rounding out the top 5.
If you’re wondering why a search engine beat out ebookstores as a source of ebooks, you can skip the obvious answer (piracy). While the survey report is framing this as sources for ebooks, that is not what was asked in the actual survey.
This data set and the graph made from it is based on an entirely unrelated survey question. It didn’t actually ask where the respondents got their ebooks; the question asked where they were “downloading, streaming/accessing, or sharing computer software” and then collated the answers of the 638 who had accessed ebooks.
Yes, the firm that conducted the survey mixed up a question from a different section of the survey and hoped we wouldn’t notice. Seriously, you can double check this on page 56 of the report. Read the fine print and you’ll see I’m right.
This survey report goes on to try to offer a granular analysis of the the survey group’s buying and downloading habits, but given the issues with the “ebook sources” chart and the issue with the accuracy of the 11%, I am going to discard the rest of the report.
It is Bunk.
image by lejoe
P.S. I found this story via The Bookseller, who reported that Amazon had 79% of the UK ebook market. No, really.