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Affordability key driver for US e-book sales
01.01.70 | Philip Jones
US e-book consumers cite free content, low prices and promotional chapters as the benefits of buying an e-reader, the BML conference heard.
Kelly Gallagher, vice-president for publishing services at Bowker, which bought Book Marketing Limited earlier this year, told delegates that price was the main factor as to why a customer would plump for an e-book rather than its physical counterpart. Free content was also a major selling point of e-readers. He said: "The proverbial horse has been let out of the barn with regard to e-books as to why people are switching over. It's not the technology [that attracts them] but the price."
According to a survey using Bowker's 750-strong consumer panel, 44% were reading on a computer, compared to 36% using the Amazon Kindle. Gallagher said: "I really don't think we have hit the sweet spot for that kind of device. We are very much in the first generation of devices. This is going to shift as Apple comes into the market [with the iPad]."
Simultaneous print and electronic publication was not an issue for some consumers. When asked whether they were prepared to wait three months from hardback publication for the e-book, 32% said they would wait, 25% would buy the hardback and 30% were not sure.