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E-books 'too pricey for 16-24 market'
20.11.13 | Charlotte Eyre
Publishers need to consider lowering e-book prices if they want to increase sales to the 16-24 demographic, the author of a report about the digital spending of young people in the UK has claimed.
Luke Mitchell, head of insight at market analysts Voxburner, is author of the report "Buying Digital Content: Research on spending habits, needs and attitudes among UK 16-24s". He said the perception among young people is that digital books are cheaper to produce than print books so should cost the consumer less.
“Whatever the internal politics and business issues within publishing, young people won't care: all they want is a price that seems fair—or better than that,” he told The Bookseller. “Their message to publishers would be: 'Get this fixed'.”
For the report Voxburner asked 1,420 respondents in the UK aged 16-24 to fill out an online survey between 25th September and 18th October this year. Half were from the student and graduate market, found via studentbeans.com, and half were sourced from data provider Cint’s broader UK youth panel.
More than 62% of the respondents said they preferred print books and 70% had not spent any money on e-books during the previous month.
When asked how much e-books should cost, 17% of respondents said they should be as much as 75% cheaper than physical books. Another 28% thought e-books should cost half as much as print books and only 8% said the two should cost the same.
Mitchell said that young people do, however, like the convenience of e-books.
He said: “Young people are obsessed with value for money [but] their second obsession is convenience, and this is something also that publishers may be able to work on: how seamless is e-book buying on a young person's favourite device?”
The report suggests that publishers should look at how young people download content, because although about 85% have a smartphone, only 55% have some kind of e-reader.
The report also found that there is a strong interest in movie bonus content, so publishers may be able to attract young readers by offering film extras, said Mitchell.
Nevertheless, he warned against spending too much time on generating additional content, such as social media links. “Their top priority is always money saving,” he said.