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Ebook buyers reading more books

20 October 2014

A new Mintel survey this week shows that ebook fans are increasing their reading because ebooks are cheaper. These UK figures show that 26% of consumers who have bought an e-book in the last year are reading more than they used to because e-books cost less than paperbacks, a figure that rises to 38% of 16 to 24-year-olds. 31% of e-book buyers say they would prefer to read print books, but choose to buy e-books because they cost less. These figures are remarkable, as they show that ebooks, being cheaper, can increase reading levels, rather than just acting as a replacement for print boooks.

36% of book buyers buy both e-books and print books, with 42% of those saying they always buy the cheapest version available. There seems to be greater stability in the market, which is settling down after the swings caused by the introduction of ebooks, and the increase in ebook sales in 2014 was 12%. This is much less than in previous years, when it was accompanied by a substantial switch to the new digital format, with some forecasting that print books would soon become obsolete.
Self-publishers also like print books, as they carry a higher price and may well be reaching a different market.

The research also showed that 32% of those surveyed had not bought a book in the past year, with the main reason being that they were not interested in reading. 21% said they did not have time to read, while 12% said they could not afford to buy books. This is a substantial number, showing that there's a lot of work to be done to encourage the reading of books and to develop higher levels of literacy.