Skip to Content

Digital Census has plenty of surprises

9 November 2015

The recent Digital Census 2015 revealed some surprises in the responses. In the book trade in general there's been much talk of a slowdown and reversal in the speed of ebook adoption, accompanied by a revival in the fortunes of print. So what exactly did the Census reveal?

A major finding was that two out of five respondents say they commonly read on a mobile phone, which seems related to the advance in smartphone technology and the tendency for people to want to use just one device for everything.. Amazon is still very much in ascendant, with 77.1% of respondents saying they regularly buy ebooks from them.

Interest in digital content has not peaked and many respondents felt that its development and the growth in digital sales would continue.

Self-publishing authors reported lower satisfaction levels at 6.7, down on last year's rating of 7.1. Half of the respondents have sold less than 1,000 books and only one in eight has sold more than 50,000 copies.

Publishers remain very divided on digital matters, and there are considerable differences of opinion on ebook pricing, ebook royalties and the agency model.

Finally, most respondents felt that publishers remain unprepared for what is coming and there is anxiety about the rise of the web giants, and what effect they might have on publishing.

The positive results should not be forgotten though, 2/3 of respondents think that the growth in digital sales will grow the overall market rather than shrink it. Nearly half said that they read more since they started buying ebooks, with only 7.7% saying they read less.