Poorly Conceived Poll Shows 45% of Indians Plan to Stick with Paper Books Only
I was reading the Indian tech blog pluggd.in this morning when i came across the results of a survey. The Kindle Store launched in India last week and that blog polled their readers on how the readers felt about ebooks. The above chart is the result, and luckily for Amazon and other ebooksellers that chart means absolutely nothing.
The chart is drawn from a single question survey of 332 readers. As you can see, there were 3 answers: paper only, ebook only, and maybes. It was a simple question with simple answers and that is the problem. What pluggd.in phrased as a single question is actually 4 or 5 questions all jumbled together.
The reason I know that the above chart shows multiple conflated questions is that Bowker ran a survey last fall in 10 countries, including India. I still have the results of that survey and not only is it more detailed it also shows that above chart is simply wrong.
For example, Bowker found that only 11% of respondents in India had no interest in ebooks, not the 45% shown above. Bowker’s survey also found that 24% of respondents had already bought ebooks, and over half (53%) had downloaded free ebooks.
What’s also interesting is that 54% of those who hadn’t bought ebooks said they were likely to do so in the future and a not-so-shocking 80% indicated that they might download them for free. And that disparity is a headscratcher because later survey questions reveal that current ebook users in India are more likely to buy ebooks than get free ones. That includes fiction, textbooks, and professional books.
So why am I writing about a useless survey? Well, I saw it and that means it might show up elsewhere. Better to debunk it now than later. And besides, by the time I’d realized that the survey was useless I’d already done the work for this post. Waste not, want not.
And that 45% resistance factor needed to be debunked. It’s incredibly wrong, and it’s wrong in a damaging way. I could ignore the rest of the survey, but that part needs to be killed with fire.