Readers don’t draw a line between self-publishers and trad publishers

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Relaxed readers: the public don’t care whether an ebook is from a self-publisher or an established publisher.

Consumers don’t make a distinction between traditional publishers and self-publishers when buying ebooks, according to a wide-ranging new study of the market.

The Book Industry Study Group’s latest report, Consumer Attitudes Towards Ebook Reading, also shows that readers prefer ebooks over print books in 10 out of 14 subject areas, including all fiction genres.

Ebooks have a big lead over print in all areas of fiction, covering romance/erotic, mystery/thriller, general, religious, young adult, science fiction/fantasy and literary.

The ebook lead is narrower in non-fiction for business/finance and history/politics/social sciences and print takes over for how-to guides/manuals and travel while comics/graphic novels and cookbooks are preferred in print by a long way.

The split of the US ebook market seems to be fairly steady, with Amazon taking two-thirds (67%) with Nook on 12% and Apple’s iBooks on 8%. The remaining 13% is reckoned to be split between Kobo (generally estimated at 5% or thereabouts) Google, Sony and publishers selling direct.

The report says ebooks are now a normal means of consuming content and offer consumers a broad range of reading options, It adds that ebook growth has slowed and ebooks now represent around 30% of books sold.

The findings show:

  • Consumers are very interested in bundling print and digital versions of a book, with 48% willing to pay more for bundles.

  • Just over half of  respondents say they would pay more for an ebook if it could be given away or resold.

  • Consumers do not distinguish between ebooks published by traditional houses and independently published options when making buying decisions.

  • There is an increase in the number of people who buy print and digital versions of a book interchangeably and a slow decline in the number of people who exclusively buy ebooks.

Len Vlahos, BISG executive director, says “Four years of consumer data shows ebook consumption has reached mainstream readers and has expanded well beyond early adopter power readers but  physical books remain a popular format for many consumers, especially in certain categories.”

The project is sponsored by Nook owner Barnes and Noble and Hachette Book Group, which has made a major impact in the ebook sector.