A new consumer survey from Bitkom revealed yesterday that 25% of a recent survey group had read an ebook. This was up 1% from last year.
A total of 2,325 people were surveyed for this report, and 577 reported reading ebook. The ebook readers tended to be younger, with 32% falling in the 14- to 29-year-old range and 30% in the 30- to 49-year-old age group. Fewer 50- to 64-year-olds (28%) read ebooks, and only 11% of the senior citizens in this study reported reading ebooks.
The most used reading device was the laptop, with 41%, followed closely by smartphones (38%), and ereaders (33%). Around a fifth of respondents (21%) still use a desktop computer, and almost as many (21%) read on a tablet.
Speaking of reading devices, Bitkom predicts that 25.6 million smartphones and 7.7 million tablets will be sold in Germany this year, but only 600,000 ereaders. So while ebook adoption might grow over the next year, it won't be on ereaders.
Those who have adopted ebooks say that they value the fact that the books are available at any time (77%). Those who don't use ebooks say that they are sticking with paper because of the sensory perception of printed books (49%), do not want to read on a screen (39%), or feel that the hardware is too expensive (44%). A sizable minority of non-ebook users (35%) also said they could concievably use ebooks in the future.
And when or if they do, they'll be more likely to borrow ebooks from the library than ever. Nearly one-third (32%) of the ebook users said they borrow ebooks from public libraries up from 25% last year and 17% the year before.
More than a quarter (27%) of ebook users read free ebooks, and 19% borrow ebooks from services like Skoobe or Kindle Unlimited (up from 16% last year)
The vast majority of ebook users (70%) buy ebooks online from the major ebook retailers, although a far smaller number (24)% buy from the same store as their ereader. Given that 33% of respondents own an ereader, the discrepancy could indicate the impact of the widespread use in the German ebook market of lighter forms of DRM.
In related news, 13% of ebook users bought ebooks direct from the author, and 7% bought ebooks from the publishers' website.
image by Ines Njers