New Study Shows How Ebooks Have Changed the Reading Landscape

New Study Shows How Ebooks Have Changed the Reading Landscape


Jan 27, 2011

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Denver, CO January 27, 2011 – In a recent study to understand how portable, multi-function devices or MFDs (e.g., iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android devices, etc) are changing consumer book reading habits, consumers who utilized these devices expressed a tremendous affinity for them, struggling to come up with any significant shortcomings to reading ebooks on them. These consumers also revealed their specific preference for MFDs, usage occasions and their ebook purchasing habits.

The two-part study with over 300 MFD owners who have read an ebook in the past 6 months, was conducted by online qualitative research firm iModerate Research Technologies and research and publishing consultancy, Brock Associates. A summary of the results were presented at Digital Book World 2011 in New York City.

The study found that the top three reasons MFD users prefer reading on their device as opposed to a hard copy book are the convenience it offers (80%), the ease of purchasing ebooks (61%) and the backlit screen (41%). Moreover, the three most common occasions for reading on MFDs are: while traveling (72%), while waiting for an appointment (72%) and while relaxing (70%).

“I think we can expect to see growth in ebook consumption in the coming year because consumers suggest that reading books on a multi-function device is such a convenience to them,” says Laurie Brock, President of Brock Associates. “As long as they have their device with them 24/7, they are going to read on it – especially if the price for an ebook remains reasonable.”

Qualitatively, consumers provided the reasoning behind why their reading habits have increased, and the story surrounding the benefits that MFDs and ebooks offer:

Increased Reading
Respondents indicated they are “time-filling reading” primarily on a MFD. Because respondents nearly always have these devices with them, they use them to read ebooks during otherwise “dead” pockets of time, such as when waiting at the doctor’s office or while their kids play on the playground.

“When we’re going somewhere in the car and my husband is driving, I’ll read some. If my kid is playing on the playground or something, I’ll sit and read while she’s playing. It’s just convenient to pull out if I have a few minutes that I’m not doing anything.” Female 25-34

The greatest benefit of the ebook experience stems from the tremendous convenience of storing books on devices that respondents nearly always have on hand. Rather than lugging heavy paper books or being stuck with just one or two titles, an ereader (whether multi-function or dedicated) allows users the luxury of having an entire library at their fingertips.

“I like being able to have many books that I can choose from to read all in one place… All I have to do is download whatever books I want to read to my devices and I can read one book for a while or switch to another book if my mood changes and I want to read something else.” Male 25-34

Digital Format
The digital format provides a variety of secondary benefits that enhance the ebook experience. These include the ability to adjust text size, make notes or highlight text, bookmark pages, search within a text and read easily in the dark.

“I also like that I can easily highlight them without ”ruining” them… It lets me easily reference things in the future. It’s like being able to put unlimited bookmarks in a book without having them stick out all over the place.” male, 25-34

About the Study
The two-part study began with a purely qualitative research exercise where 30 respondents participated in live, online one-on-one interview sessions. Phase two utilized a hybrid market research approach where 60 one-on-one sessions were incorporated into an online survey which netted 304 completes. In both phases, respondents were men and women aged 18+, who own and use a multi-function electronic device and have read at least one ebook on this device in the past six months. Readers were defined as Heavy Readers if they had read 6 or more books/ebooks in the last 6 months, Medium Readers if they had read 3 to 5 books/ebooks in the last 6 months or as Light Readers if they had read 1 or 2 books/ebooks in the last 6 months.

Summary slides of the study are available as a free download from iModerate Research Technologies.

About Brock Associates
Laurie Brock, President of Brock Associates, has been involved in the information and publishing industries for over thirty-five years. She has extensive experience in market research and the development of both print and electronic publications.

About iModerate Research Technologies
iModerate Research Technologies listens, connects and digs deeper with consumers online to provide the research story organizations need to win in the marketplace. Years of research and development by veteran field experts, as well as analytical specialists, produced the concept, methodology and software that have allowed iModerate to help Fortune 500 companies, large and boutique research firms and prominent organizations strengthen their research results. Focused on providing customized qualitative solutions, iModerate is broadening online research capabilities by delivering essential qualitative insight. iModerate is based in Denver, Colorado. For more information please visit www.imoderate.com.

Media Contacts:
Adam Rossow
Phone: 303.928.8406

Brock Associates
Laurie Brock

Our research work with iModerate over the past several years has developed into a true partnership. Their unique fusion of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies in a single study has offered new insights into key topics and markets of interest for our organization, which in turn, we are able to quickly turn into action steps. They are flexible, responsive, and extremely engaged in the entire project process, from conception and design to final data processing and delivery. They have even gone above and beyond by volunteering their time, resources, and expertise to assist with a special target market project on women. iModerate has their finger on the pulse of the research industry and consistently provides creative suggestions and solutions to enhance our current work. This ultimately allows us to provide our leadership with the strategic insights and opportunities that helps us to advance the common good.

Kristin Thomsen, Manager, Market Research, United Way Worldwide