January 23, 2022

E-Book Consumers Diversifying Their Format Preferences, Says New BISG Study

Highlights From the Book Industry Study Group Study:

E-book consumers are becoming more diverse in their format preferences, says the Book Industry Study Group (BISG)’s closely-watched Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading report.

The third installment in Volume Three of this Bowker-powered study — available today — shows that the percentage of e-book consumers who exclusively or mostly purchase book content in e-book format has decreased from nearly 70 percent in August 2011 to 60 percent in May 2012. Over the same period, the percentage of survey respondents who have no preference for either e-book or print formats, or who buy some genres in e-book format and others in print, rose from 25 percent to 34 percent.

The study also tracks changes in device ownership, showing that Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet has overtaken Apple’s iPad among e-book consumers for the first time. Ownership of the Kindle Fire has grown from seven percent of respondents in December 2011 to 20 percent just six months later. Apple’s iPad has remained static at 17 percent over the same time period.


Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading also reveals that the overall use of multifunction tablets as primary e-reading devices continues to rise, with a corresponding drop in preference for dedicated e-readers. For example, while Amazon’s Kindle e-reader is still the most often cited primary device for reading e-books (35 percent), it’s down from its August 2011 high of 48 percent. Not all tablets are increasing in use: Apple’s iPad decreased slightly from 10 percent in February to nine percent in May. Black-and-white and color versions of the NOOK e-reader are also down, dropping from 17 percent in August 2011 to 13 percent in May 2012.

Since November 2009, Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading has been tracking the habits and preferences of print book consumers who say they have acquired an e-book or a dedicated e-reading device within the past 18 months. Volume Three is sponsored by Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, and Harlequin. In addition to quarterly PDF Summary Reports, Volume Three of Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading is published as a dynamic online report via Real-Time Reporting: a unique web-based tool set displaying the raw data derived from responses: drillable, sortable, with on-demand accessibility.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.