Thursday, January 26, 2012

Print books still strong

A recent report from the Pew Research Center announced that the number of Americans owning a tablet computer or an ebook reader jumped from 18% in December to 29% in January.

While this is indeed a striking number, I'd like to point out the converse - prior to January, 82% of Americans did not own one of these devices, and as of January, 71% still do not. It might be too early to start moving a large percentage of your collection to the virtual shelves.

This week an article at cites a Bowker study on book sales, reporting that the growth in ebook sales in 2011 was well below what had been predicted, and a relatively small number of "power buyers" are driving a large percentage of sales -- more so than in the print book marketplace. According to this study, 74% of book buyers have never bought an ebook, including 14% of those buyers who actually own an ereader or tablet but do not choose to read it for reading ebooks.

It is interesting to watch the adoption of new technology, but the old technology has a lot of staying power. What do these statistics look like in your library's community?