End Users Speak: Outcomes from Recent Surveys, from the NISO eBook Forum

The following are my notes from the NISO eBook Forum Program – End Users Speak:  Outcomes from Recent Surveys.  Best efforts were made to ensure accuracy.

Presented by – Steve Paxhia, President, Beacon Hill Strategic Solutions

3 of the studies presented today are not even published yet.  Most of the data shown was within just a few weeks of collection.  He summarized 4 reports from thousands of participants, millions of data points.  Much of the data was preliminary, so the numbers I list below may change with the final reports.

eBook Sales/Market Growth:

  • Market share of ebooks is now 29% as of 2012.  There was about a billion dollars of growth in the market last year and a billion dollars in the ebook market.
  • Children/Juvenile fiction titles moved from 1.9 – 7% from 2010 – 2011.
  • Who are the people driving this rapid growth?  eBook consumer is much more education, younger (21-40 category is big), people with more income.  This was a stronger trend previously as the costs of devices/content has dropped.
  • Favorite genres:  Romance, crime and mystery.  Romance has been the leading genre almost from the beginning.
  • What are the most important features of ebooks?  Portability, availability of content 24/7, space at home, cheaper than hard back books, etc.
  • What are the perceived negatives of ebooks?  Prefer reading printed books, cost of device, spend too much time looking at a screen already.


International Markets, where is the rest of the world in this?

Short answer, about 2 years behind.  US has the larges number of eBook buyers.  India, Brazil, and UK are next.  European countries are very slow to adopt devices, and particularly slow about purchasing Amazon devices.   Brazil, India, and South Korea were rated highest for ebook buying potential.


Device Sales continue to grow.

  • 30 million new eReaders were deployed in 2011.
  • 117 million tablets projected to be sold in 2012.
  • “Phablet” – phone and tablet combined, coming from Samsung
  • Microsoft will be releasing a “Pablet” – PC in a tablet format ($499 price point)


Asked device owners what they do with the device.

Reading a book was the highest response for Kindle Fire, iPad, and other android tablet users.  Playing games next, then searching for/ordering books, music/audio, and videos.


eBook spending by device

Fire, Kindle, nook, iPad all had increases in ebook purchasing.  Not so much with the android tablets.

Amazon’s share continues to grow – over 80%, but good news is that the library market share is also growing.


Students and Faculty – from the BISG Student/Faculty Attitudes Towards Digital Content study, published by BISG

What is the student value proposition? – learning solutions that would help them reduce their study time by 25% was the highest response.  Integrated learning solutions – value of content in an ILS was much higher than an individual book.   Students are purchasing books at a higher rate from Amazon than the student bookstore.



  • What emphasis is put on various components?   Faculty responded highest with the printed textbook, despite the student value lying in the ILS.
  • Faculty felt that 95% of their students purchased the textbook.  Their interpretation of student use of textbook material was much higher than how students responded in all categories.
  • Reliance on curriculum components:  Faculty rely on OERs – this was the highest response.
  • Are faculty planning to go more digital?  52% said yes – what does that mean?  Publisher content, using web-based content


Licensing and course fees, is there an interest and willingness to pay a mandatory course materials fee?

  • Very interested:  32% faculty  27% students
  • almost 40% of each are somewhat interested


Library Journal’s Patron Profiles:


Patron Profiles by Library Journal – Public Libraries

eBooks are critical to the future of libraries.  Library patrons are wired. What makes them happy and keeps them coming back – excellence in things they perceive as high value services – ambiance, finding what you need, service.   The lowest satisfaction point was finding ebooks they want.   The number of people that tried an ebook had doubled.  The number of people who now prefer the ebook format is 35%, it’s grown rapidly since last year.   Ebook exclusive patrons are never coming to the library.  Barriers to borrowing ebooks? – more selection, more titles, more copies, checkout process is not easy.    How are you willing to compromise?  Waiting a month or 3 months was okay, having to physically come into the library was very low.  Self-published books – 30% of library patrons had read a self-published book.


Academic Patron Profiles by Library Journal

Online vs. onsite – are these competitive or complementary?  Onsite – study space and internet access are critical.  Online – research for assignments, textbooks, citation support, assignments.  Looking at this data side-by-side they are totally complimentary.   Resource availability is critical.  If they don’t find what they want, they don’t come back.   Students are more inclined to use dedicated apps.  Student use of the library across their academic career.  Familiarity does not make the heart grow fonder.  Use/commitment to the library does NOT increase during a student’s academic career.  Engagement is important for academic libraries.