E-books: A snapshot

Barnes and Noble Nook

It’s been a while since Trade Secrets looked at e-books. Here’s a snapshot of where the world of electronic books and e-readers stand in May of 2014:

  • According to a recent Harris poll, 54 percent of Americans read e-books, and 66 percent of millennials read e-books.
  • Go go gadget: If you read exclusively in the e-book format, you’re more likely to read over 20 books in a year (30 percent) more than those who prefer hard copies (18 percent).
  • Go go gadget, part two: E-book readers purchase on average twice as many books (14) each year as do hard copy readers (7).
  • McDonald’s restaurants in the UK are now offering e-book downloads instead of toys in Happy Meals.
  • At the recent American Educational Research Association in Philadelphia, researchers presented evidence that students who use print books have better comprehension of the material presented than those who use e-books. This may be due to the embedded features like hyperlinks and videos that are intended to enhance the learning experience but instead become distractions.
  • According to the Association of American Publishers, e-book sales generated $1.3 billion in revenue in 2013.

McDonald’s is now offering e-book downloads instead of toys in Happy Meals.

  • A new report from a county library system in Colorado revealed that the average price for the top 15 New York Times fiction e-books is $47.30. Compare that to an average of just $13 for the same books sold to libraries in hardcopy. This is part of the ongoing struggle between libraries, library patrons, and the publishing industry, which fears a loss of sales if e-books are too easy for libraries to loan.
  • And lastly, in the spirit of E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey,” romance and erotica are the most popular e-book genres, according to the Book Industry Study Group.


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