New Survey Reveals Library Borrowers Are Also Buyers

from The Digital Reader, by Nate Hoffelder

A number of the major publishers dislike library ebooks because they fear that each ebook checked out is a lost sale. While this new survey data suggests there is some substance to that fear, the survey also shows that library patrons who borrow ebooks also buy them.

Back in June and July of this year, OverDrive sponsored a survey which was  conducted by the ALA. Library patrons were polled via the virtual library branch website OD operates on behalf of partner libraries, and asked about their borrowing, buying, and reading habits. A total of 75,385 people responded to the survey and they came from a broad spectrum of education, age, and income.

But in spite of the broad spectrum, the majority of the respondents fell into certain categories. The respondents were overwhelmingly female (78%), earned more more than $50 thousand a year (75%), were in their 40s or older (72%), and were college educated (73%).

This concentration is particularly noteworthy because it is similar to the data presented by Bowker in their annual surveys.  Educated, well-paid women are the dominant book buyer in the US, though not quite to the same degree as shown in this survey.

The survey includes questions on a number of topics, including how, why, and how often patrons use the library, but I am mainly interested in the questions on buying ebooks.

The respondents reported buying an average of 3.2 books a month and reading them on an ereader (83%). The survey data also showed that for most patrons both borrowing and buying of ebooks had increased over the past 6 months (60%, 44%), or at the very least held steady (33%, 44%).

But it’s not all good news. It looks like there is some truth to the belief that library ebooks cut into retail sales. A solid majority of library patrons (64%) said that they had never bought a book after checking it out of the library.

Of course, that number does not mean much until and unless we get data on browsing in bookstores (both offline and online) which could tell us how many samples are read without leading to a sale and how many books are picked up and then returned to the shelf. Then we would have something to compare that 64% to.

The reason I want to compare browsing vs buying behavior is because I want to see how borrowers compare the the book buying population as a whole. Putting the 2 surveys together would tell us whether library patrons buy more or less books than the average consumer.

I suspect library patrons buy more the average consumer, but the survey data I would need to prove it is available in an $800 report from Bowker. Sorry, but that’s just not worth it for me.

Survey (PDF)

image by twechy

New Survey Reveals Library Borrowers Are Also Buyers is post from The Digital Reader

All Hallow’s Read

Dear reader,

With Halloween approaching it is time to focus on something to read for that time. Here is the advice of none other than Neil Gaiman:

So what is All Hallow’s Read?
All Hallow’s Read is a Hallowe’en tradition. It’s simply that in the week of Hallowe’en, or on the night itself, you give someone a scary book.

If you want to know more about All Hallow’s Read, please visit this website.

Nexus 7 32GB Model Coming Soon – Thank You, Amazon

Via The Digital Reader by Nate Hoffelder:

So you’ve probably heard the rumor that Google would be releasing a new model for the Nexus 7 Android tablet, one which finally has enough storage to match the Kindle Fire HD. If you have not read about the rumor then you have probably read about the product listings which have shown up on several websites.

I never reported on the rumor myself, but I never doubted that it was true. This was one of the side effects which I expected to see ever since Jeff Bezos first held up the Kindle Fire HD.

The thing is, when Jeff announced that the KFHD would ship with not 8GB of storage but 16GB,  he raised the minimum standards for competing tablets. It may have taken a couple weeks or more for this to percolate through the industry, but as you can see from the actions of Google and Kobo (they upgraded the not yet released Arc) it is having an effect.

While I suppose this is a good thing, I’d much rather have a card slot. Removable storage would allow for several useful tricks for sharing content across my several devices, including giving me the option fo taking high quality photos with a camera and then tweeting them from the tablet. (And that’s not as silly as it sounds.)

But I have come to accept that Apple, Amazon, Google, et al are going to release tablets and ereaders without card slots so there’s little point in complaining. (Thank you, B&N, for bucking the trend.)

On a related note, one thing that surprised me about the recent Nexus 7 news was the price. According to one screenshot the 32GB model will be priced at $259.  That’s $10 more than the comparable KFHD or Kobo Arc model, and while you do get more hardware for the price it is still surprising to not see Google match or beat the $249 price for the 32GB KFHD. You would think they would be more price conscious.

(Nexus 7 32GB Model Coming Soon – Thank You, Amazon is post from The Digital Reader)

E-reading devices compared

Dear reader,

More and more signals appear that the E-ink technology that is used in many popular e-reading devices is getting beating upon beating from the realm of the tablets. Not very surprising, as tablets become more and more affordable and offer more versatility compared to e-readers that you can ‘only’ use to read.

♦ So what is the difference of the reading experience between the two?
Here is some imagery from my own devices (forgive my lack of craftsmanship on these):

E-reader, large overview

Image from a piece of text on my e-reader. It almost looks like a book to me.

E-reader, detail

Up here you see a close-up of the text on the e-reader.

Tablet, black on white, overview

Here you see a snip of text on the tablet, with the device set to a white background and black text.

Tablet, black on white, detail

A close-up of the tablet’s display. Of course, you would never lie with your nose on a tablet this way, unless you fall asleep on it.

Tablet, white on black, overview

Here is the same text but then reversed in image. White text, black background.

Tablet, white on black, detail

And to be complete: here is a close-up of the text in white on black.

As you see, there is quite a difference when you look at the devices this way. The display on the e-reader seems a bit smoother. This of course has to do also with the way the tablet lights up its text: from behind, and the fact that this is an extreme close-up. When reading from it, the difference is hardly noticeable.

♦ And what is the similarity of the reading experience between the two?

Both devices do what I want from them when I read on them. The display is flicker-free, the response when paging is good (remember that you get what you pay for, do not expect snappy responses from a low-budget tablet). Both devices can hold a large number of books, font sizes can be adjusted and everything just works.

The tablet has an added benefit here: I can install free reading apps from anywhere (Aldiko, Kobo, Amazon, etc.) so I can purchase books from everywhere and read them immediately. This benefit also is a drawback. I want to read a book. Where did I buy it? Oh, yes, so I need that app to read it. That is something you don’t have to worry about on a dedicated e-reader, everything is on there. Which has in turn the drawback that when you want to buy something on Amazon and read it on for example a B&N Nook, you will need to do some trickery with conversion and DRM removal before you can load your purchase on your own device. Especially the latter part needs some attention as it is not legal to tinker with these things, even when you have bought the book.

For now there is one clear point where an E-ink device wins hands down over a tablet: reading outside. A tablet does not display anything clearly when you take it outside in bright light. And the brighter the light, the clearer E-ink is.

♦ The decline of E-ink.

I see why it happens. Tablets are more versatile. You can read on them, you can also browse the web, you can listen to music (which is possible on most e-readers as well), and you can run all kinds of programs and games on them. E-ink will have a hard time beating that – as well as getting a facelift to displaying colours.

Libraries

Dear reader,

This is about libraries.

Who has not spent hours and hours in libraries? Perusing the thousands of books on the shelves, exploring the many different categories and styles?

I know I have done that a lot in the past, when there was no Internet, when there were no e-books (yes, I am one of those e-book fanatics).

Very early already I had gone through all the books suitable for my age, and I could not find anything worthwhile to read any more that I had not already read, so my parents arranged that I could go into the adult books section.

A world of worlds, knowledge, impressions and marvel opened for me when I discovered the joy of reading. The person who initiated that with me was my mother. She was the book worm in the house, and soon I was the other one. More than once I had to be called a few times, and shaken physically, for the call to come to dinner. Once engrossed in a book the real world simply disappeared.

The library of alexandria

Libraries have always been impressive and very necessary institutions where the knowledge of a nation or a culture were collected and cared for. The first known library in the world was that of the great city of Alexandria, in ancient Egypt. It functioned as a very important place of scholarship from its construction in the 3rd century BC until the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC. As this is the first known and also very significant library in history, it has a special meaning. One that started all the other libraries, all those other places that gather wisdom for posterity. It was such an impressive place, with so many written scrolls, that it also became the name for the Alexandria Publishing Group that I am a member of.

Since libraries contain so much knowledge and give so much food for thought, often they were (and sometimes still are) destroyed. Food for thought is a dangerous thing for usurpers and dictators. The dumber a people, the easier they can be controlled. But not only humans have destroyed libraries. Also the simple fact that books are made of paper is a danger – fire is a great enemy of libraries. Luckily these days there are many good fire-detection and sprinkler systems. They help in preserving the important old and new documents that so many brilliant minds have put together. (Of course water can be a threat to books as well.)

Libraries. They are important places. Places that feed the mind. Home of readers and writers. And a public library makes no difference between rich and poor, old and young, the colour of skin, or what other differences you can think of. Anyone who needs to research something, who has a burning question, or who wants to borrow a book for the pure joy of reading, it does not matter. The library can accommodate it.

The library. I don’t know how it was for you, dear reader, but for me the library, even at a young age, was more important than the playground. I would even say that it was my playground. It offers thousands of ways to be entertained, amazed, scared and surprised. And most of all: become knowledgeable.

 

Dutch e-book market finally taking off

Dutch e-book market finally accelerating

E-book sales in The Netherlands passed the 600,000 mark over the first half of 2012, with close to 16,000 available titles. E-book revenue constitutes 3% of the market, against 1,6% over 2011 and 0,7% over 2010.

The Dutch e-book market is predicted to reach 5-7% at the end of this year. This means the growth of both sales and the number of available titles is now clearly accelerating.

After Apple and Kobo entered the market over the last year, main distributor Central Bookhouse expects to sign deals with B&N and Google this year. In a statement released last week CB stated to expect e-book sales to reach 1,5 million downloads in 2012.

This does not include Amazon. There are very clear signs that the company is preparing to enter the Dutch market before the end of this year, although no official statements have been made. The impact of this will likely stimulate the e-book market even further.

And there are more portents that e-books are here to stay. Several companies (Yindo, Central Bookhouse, ebook.nl) are introducing new business models like online reading and renting e-books and offering them to publishers.

10 things about reading

Reading is one of the best hobbies a person can have. But it’s saddening to know that majority of us aren’t introduced to the fabulous world of books. If you are one of the non-book readers who feels you “don’t need no stinking books”, here are some reasons to start the habit…before you are left behind!

  1. Reading is an active mental process: Unlike sitting in front of the idiot box (TV), reading makes you use your brain. While reading you would be forced to reason out many things which are unfamiliar to you. In this process you would use the grey cells of your brain to think and become smarter.
  2. Reading improves your vocabulary: Remember in elementary school when you learned how to infer the meaning of one word by reading the context of the other words in the sentence? You get the same benefit from book reading. While reading books, especially challenging ones, you will find yourself exposed to many new words you wouldn’t be otherwise.
  3. Gives you a glimpse into other cultures and places of the world: How would you know about the life of people in Mexico if you don’t read about it? Reading gives you an insight into the diversity of ethnicity of people, their customs, their lifestyles etc. You become more aware about the different places and the code of conduct in those places.
  4. Improves concentration and focus: It requires you to focus on what you are reading for long periods. Unlike magazines, Internet posts or e-Mails that might contain small chunks of information, books tell the whole story. Since you must concentrate in order to read, like a muscle, you will get better at concentration.
  5. Builds self-esteem: The more you read, the more knowledgeable you become. With more knowledge comes more confidence. More confidence builds self-esteem. So it’s a chain reaction. Since you are so well read, people look to you for answers. Your feelings about yourself can only get better.
  6. Improves memory: Many studies show if you don’t use your memory, you lose it. Crossword puzzles are an example of a word game that staves off Alzheimer’s. Reading, although not a game, helps you stretch your memory muscles in a similar way. Reading requires remembering details, facts and figures and in literature, plot lines, themes and characters.
  7. Improves your discipline: Making time to read is something we all know we should do, but who schedules book reading time every day? Very few… That’s why adding book reading to your daily schedule and sticking to it, improves discipline.
  8. Improves creativity: Reading about diversity of life and exposing yourself to new ideas and more information helps to develop the creative side of the brain as it imbibes innovation into your thinking process.
  9. You always have something to talk about: Have you ever found yourself in an embarrassing situation where you didn’t have anything to talk about? Did you hate yourself for making a fool of yourself? Do you want a remedy for this? It’s simple. Start reading. Reading widens your horizon of information. You’ll always have something to talk about. You can discuss various plots in the novels you read, you can discuss the stuff you are learning in the business books you are reading as well. The possibilities of sharing become endless.
  10. Reduces boredom: One of the rules I have is if I am feeling bored, I will pick up a book and start reading. What I’ve found by sticking to this is that I become interested in the book’s subject and stop being bored. I mean, if you’re bored anyway, you might as well be reading a good book, right?

If you want to break the monotony of a lazy, uncreative and boring life, go and grab an interesting book. Turn the pages to explore a new world filled with information and ingenuity.

(Source: inewsindia.)

Read, don’t show

Found on DialyMail.co.uk:

One-third of e-book readers admit to using gadgets to hide that they’re reading erotic novels

  • One-third of users have read erotic novels
  • 58% use their device to hide what they are reading
  • Other ‘shameful’ books include children’s titles such as Harry Potter

E-book readers ‘free’ fans from having to show off what they’re reading – and it seems many users like to go for rather racy fare.
In a poll of 1,863 people conducted in Britain this week, 34% admitted to having read erotic novels on the devices.Around a third of e-book users read erotic novels on their devices, confident that others can’t see them.

Another 57% said that they used their e-reader to hide the fact that they were reading children’s books, such as Harry Potter, whilst 26% said they used theirs to disguise their sci-fi books habit.

Overall, 58% of people admit to using their device to ‘hide’ what they are reading, according to the poll by MyVoucherCodes.co.uk.

Mark Pearson, Chairman of MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, said ‘Having an e-reader does make it a lot easier to disguise what you’re reading, but it was quite an eye-opener to find out how many people use the fact that they have an e-reader to read an adult novel or two!’

An earlier poll of British readers found that a third of ebook readers are too embarrassed to reveal the truth about what they are reading.

One in five said they would be so ashamed of their collection that if they were to lose their ebook reader they would not claim it back.

But the results also showed that 71 per cent of books on the shelves of those who responded were autobiographies, political memoirs, and other non-fiction titles – but those categories accounted for just 14 per cent of e-books read by those surveyed. 

The most popular e-books were thrillers and mysteries followed by romance, humour and fantasy.

Fifty-five per cent said they had read fewer than a third of the books on their shelves while one in 10 admitted they had never read any of them.’

Original article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2149344/One-e-book-readers-admit-using-gadgets-hide-theyre-reading-erotic-novels.html

Tor/Forge to go DRM-free

Dear reader,

You may know Tor and Forge. They make books. SF and Fantasy.  Via a posting to their blog on Tor.com they have announced that “in the summer of 2012” they will present a DRM FREE online bookstore which is directly accessible to the general public. So no middle-men will be involved there.

From the announcement:

“This isn’t in lieu of the existing online retailers, but in addition to them. We think there’s room for all kinds of retail models in the growing e-book field—and we aim in particular to provide a rich, informative browsing experience to fans and devotees of the kinds of books Tor and Forge have made their reputations publishing.”