The legacy book publishing industry is fond of telling itself comforting myths.
For example, one myth that just crossed my desk was the idea that younger readers preferred print books over ebooks. This is comforting to the legacy industry because it reassures them that their bad business decisions (high ebook prices, to be exact) will not continue to haunt them.
Alas, like many myths, there is little to back it up.
And in part, Albanese tells Vox in a phone interview, that’s because the digital natives of Gen Z and the millennial generation have very little interest in buying ebooks. “They’re glued to their phones, they love social media, but when it comes to reading a book, they want John Green in print,” he says. The people who are actually buying ebooks? Mostly boomers. “Older readers are glued to their e-readers,” says Albanese. “They don’t have to go to the bookstore. They can make the font bigger. It’s convenient.”
Yeah, that claim is not true at all.
Update: Author Tom Wood sent me a couple screenshots, and I now understand why people think there's no reason to market ebooks to Gen Y. This conclusion is based on data from a Library Journal survey. When looked at it in isolation, it appears to shows a preference for print. The problem with that conclusion is that survey data on the millennial-aged cohort show a preference for print that is almost as high. Also, I have conflicting data from Pew Research Center, and other sources.
Younger age cohorts are not only more likely to have read an ebook, they are also buying more ebooks - and I have the data to back that up.
For starters, the most recent reading survey from Pew Research Center showed that the 18-29 age cohort, which includes the tail end of the millennial generation, was the most likely to have read an ebook in the past 12 months.
And not only are youngins more likely to have read an ebook, they are also buying more ebooks.
eBooks.com has revealed that their best customers are still in college. and that "62% of ebook purchases are made by people aged between 18 and 45".
As Gen Z gets older, the younger age bracket will be replaced with more digital-first buyers. Each year will bring us more ebook buyers, and that means more sales. Most of those sales will be made at Amazon and go to indie authors, so the legacy industry will continue to pretend they're not happening (I for one am looking forward to the next myth), but they are still going to happen.
Are you ready for the coming ebook boom?