Luke Mitchell of the UK market analyst firm Voxburner is the author of the report "Buying Digital Content: Research on spending habits, needs and attitudes among UK 16-24s". The full report is behind a paywall (with a £495 price tag) but a few details where shared on the Voxburner website.
The report shows that 70% of respondents had not spent bought any ebooks in the previous month, and that more 62% of young people preferred paper.
What little public data available from this report also suggested that when young people read an ebook they were more likely to read on a smartphone; a full 85% of respondents owned a smartphone, while only 55% owned an ereader. On a related note, this report also confirms that young people continue to lead in adopting mobile devices; this report showed higher adoption rates than the most recent survey results from the Pew Research Center (which only surveys the US and not the UK, but still).
And when it comes to prices, 17% of respondents said that ebooks should be priced as much as 75% less than paper books, and another 28% thought ebooks should cost only half as much as print books.
I was a little surprised by that result; I would have expected the respondents to be more resistant to buying full priced ebooks. This is the age group that is often the most tech savvy while also having limited funds, so they would know that it would be easy to find a free copy and download it. And given the upward spiraling textbook costs it seemed likely that we would see greater resistance to ebook prices.
Still, 45% of respondents thought that ebooks should be a lot cheaper. I wonder how many buy, or even download, ebooks? That's the more important question, I think. Also, if they're not buying ebooks then are they looking to the used book market? If so then this could be a reason to drop the price of ebooks.
image by musescore