Posts Tagged ‘BISG’

eReader Frenzy Continues

Last week, Publishing Perspectives’ editor Edward Nawotka stirred up some controversy with his opinion that the current breed of eReaders were good enough, noting, “My septuagenarian mother is delighted with her first-generation Kindle.”

Yesterday, Brian O’Leary, Founder and Principal of Magellan Media, offered his own take on the frenzied buzz coming out of CES in a post, “Reader madness“, that he’s allowed us to repost here in its entirety:

A range of digital reading devices debuted (or hinted at debuting) at the Consumer Electronics Show last week, and the resulting hype convinced me that I should be the last person posting about them.

Then, a friend tweeted a link to a half-day e-reading conference (yes, another one).  The folks behind this conference had crunched the numbers and decided that by 2020, annual demand for e-ink readers would total 446 million units – about $25 billion in sales.  Not “total over ten years”, not “in use”: someone out there (with a straight face) wants me to spend $195 to entertain a claim that nearly half a billion e-readers will be sold in 2020.

No thanks.

There are lots of good things to say about current and possible e-reading solutions, to the extent that they are solutions and not just devices.  To hear those things, we need to stop gasping every time something new and shiny (or black) comes our way.

Matthew Bernius (a graduate student at Rochester Institute of Technology and co-director of the school’s Open Publishing Lab) offers a level-headed view of where e-reading may be headed.  With somewhat less analysis, Bonnier’s Sara Öhrvall offers her on-the-floor perspective, sparing us a breathless talk on the Coming Age of E-Books.

Similarly, Kirk Biglione offers a nuanced assessment of how the mythical Apple Tablet might well aid Amazon in the digital reading market.  It’s not always apparent where we’ll end up, or when we’ll get there.

To be clear, I do believe digital content consumption will grow, and the relative share of print-based content provision will fall.  I’m just not a fan of conclusions without data and predictions for the sake of having said it first.  It was a bad week for both, I am afraid.

Two weeks from now at Digital Book World, the Book Industry Study Group will offer the first look at data from their ongoing research project, “Consumer Attitudes toward eBook Reading”. The study is evaluating readers’ actual interest in and preferences for digital content, and the factors that influence their reading habits and purchasing decisions, and they will be presenting a selection of actionable data points from this pioneering research.

Register now for Digital Book World

As eBook sales continue to grow, many publishers are finding themselves in new and unfamiliar territory: What do readers want; which formats do they prefer; and how much are they willing to pay for digital content?

To answer these critical questions, the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) recently launched a research project, “Consumer Attitudes toward eBook Reading”, to evaluate readers’ actual interest in and preferences for digital content, and the factors that influence their reading habits and purchasing decisions. The initial look at the first round data from the ongoing survey will be presented at Digital Book World on January 27, 2010, as part of a morning program that will address the issue of eBooks: Opportunity or Threat?

“We’re delighted that BISG and RR Bowker chose Digital Book World to share the initial findings of this much-anticipated research,” says Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Director of Audience Development for Digital Book World. “The study comes at a critical time for publishers, and is a perfect fit for our overall program, which emphasizes fundamental strategies over individual channels and the latest tools. There’s far more speculation and punditry than hard data about eBooks, and the BISG/Bowker research will provide the kind of actionable data publishers can use to develop strategic plans that can be integrated and implemented today, not five years down the road.”

Earlier this month BISG launched a widespread U.S. Census-based survey of hundreds of actual e-book consumers. Over the course of nine months (Nov 2009 – July 2010), survey respondents are being asked a series of questions aimed at gathering an understanding of their real-time eBook purchase and reading habits. During the Today’s eBook Consumer session at Digital Book World, Angela Bole, BISG’s Deputy Executive Director, will introduce Kelly Gallagher, Vice President of Publishing Services, RR Bowker, who will share, for the first time, a selection of actionable data points from this pioneering research.

Find a schedule-at-a glance and learn more about Digital Book World programs and events and register by November 20 for a discounted early rate to the Conference at digitalbookworld.com or follow @digibookworld on Twitter or join the Digital Book World group on LinkedIn.

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It’s a well-known fact that fans of the romance genre love eBooks, and Harlequin, Ellora’s Cave and other savvy publishers are serving their needs well, but who else is a potential eBook reader?

The Huffington Post‘s new Books section offers two possible answers: readers in developing economies…

The growth in worldwide literacy has created a massive affordability gap between those who want books, and those who can afford them. Therein lies both the threat and the opportunity facing publishers.

The publishing industry has successfully responded to the price issue in the past by releasing lower cost formats such as the mid-sized trade paperback and the small purse-sized mass market paperback. Each lower cost format dropped the price 30-50 percent.

By offering customers a cheaper, smaller and less expensive format, publishers expanded the available market for their books and enabled a larger number of readers to gain access to affordable reads.

Mark Coker, Why We Need $4.00 Books

And non-readers…

By marketing the Kindle to people like me — i.e. ‘adults’ who already read regularly and don’t need to be sold on how great books are– publishing is merely doubling down on the biggest problem facing the industry: not enough people read books. Right now, e-readers are being touted as an alternative to paper. Big mistake. E-readers should be promoted as a cool option for non readers or hesitant readers. Instead, those readers are stunningly being ignored.

Jason Pinter, Why the Digital Revolution is Missing the Big Picture

While industry navel-gazing makes for interesting reading, what’s been missing from the discussion is the perspective of consumers themselves, and the Book Industry Study Group is looking to add that critical piece to the puzzle via a new research study: Consumer Attitudes toward eBook Reading.

Although much of the publishing industry is working hard to develop and implement digital strategies, there is little available research that evaluates book consumers’ actual interest in and preferences for digital content, or the factors that influence their reading habits and purchasing decisions.

To help fill this void, BISG’s Research Committee, led by Debbie Stier, SVP, Associate Publisher for HarperStudio and Director of Digital Marketing for HarperCollins, is developing a new research study with the help of survey partner PubTrack Consumer that will directly survey today’s eBook consumer.

The study began in August 2009 and publication is planned for the 1st quarter of 2010, perhaps in time to be discussed at Digital Book World?

Stay tuned.

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