E-book fans are upping their reading habit because e-books are cheaper than print copies, according to new research from Mintel.
The consumer research firm's latest study, Books and e-Books UK 2014, shows 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.
Altogether, 31% of e-book buyers say they would prefer to read print books, but choose to buy e-books because they cost less. While 23% of book buyers said they felt that print books cost too much, only 16% of people felt the same about e-books. 36% of book buyers buy both e-books and print books, with 42% of those saying they always buy the cheapest version available.
Mintel said that the overall e-book market seemed to be stabilising, with sales of e-books estimated to reach £340m in 2014, up 12% from £300m in 2013. It is a smaller rise than the growth from 2012 to 2013, which saw a 38% rise on 2012's sales of £216m.
Samuel Gee, senior technology and media analyst at Mintel said: "While e-readers have seemingly sparked consumer interest in reading, it may be that e-reader sales have had their time in the sun. With increasingly affordable and multi-functional tablets spreading into the market, the two real benefits of e-readers – greater battery life and an e-paper screen readable under sunlight – do not appear to be enough to maintain interest. However, our research shows significant potential to trade on existing consumer positivity in terms of buying e-books, including the potential for subscription services that trade off of sustained enthusiasm for the format."
The research also showed that 32% of British people 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, whole 12% said they could not afford to buy books.