Late last month I asked whether consumers were buying fewer books after switching to subscription ebook services like Scribd, Oyster, or Kindle Unlimited, and according to the latest info from Neilsen Book the answer is No.
A few details from the latest edition of the Nielsen Books & Consumers Market Research crossed my desk today, and this report shows that the subscribers in the UK and the US spend more on average than non-subscribers.
The data I have shows that about 4% of book buyers have subscribed to one of the standalone ebook subscription services. Curiously, when you add in the Amazon Prime members that figure jumps to 10%. It also shows that subscribers tend to be male (59%) while book buyers tended to be female:
But no matter the age, the survey group was spending a lot of money on books. As a group, subscribers had a monthly budget of $58, while non-subscribers had a budget of $34. The survey also showed that subscription customers were willing to pay more for their subscription than the standard flat rate of $9 to $10. Men were willing to pay an average of $17, while women would pay $14.
That's an interesting survey report, isn't it?
I don't have all of the data, but one of my takeaways from what we do have is that publishers are right to be concerned about making their ebooks available through Oyster or Scribd.
In a trend which mirrors the rise of ebooks, the ebook subscriber base tends to be concentrated among the most profligate book buyers. If more publishers signed up then those book buyers would have fewer reasons to buy outside of the service, and they could end up spending less money on books.
Jonathan Nowell, the President of Nielsen Book, laid out in his talk the week before last how print sales have declined with the rise of ebooks over the past 5 years, and I'm sure that's not a trend which publishers want to see repeated.