A Simba Information study reported that while one in five U.S. adults own an Apple iPad, only about half use the device as an e-reader. Simba, which has been following e-book publishing and reading devices since 2009, also found that tablets have been gaining on dedicated e-readers for the last 18 months.
However, the findings do not support the idea that tablets will replace the printed book, according to Michael Norris, senior analyst at Simba.
“There are certain things about print that are incredibly valuable to consumers,” Norris told TeleRead. “I have a book on my shelf at home that is nine decades old. It was published by Popular Mechanics in 1919, I think. It will work when I open it up. Print books are something you can pass on and give as gifts. That is something where the physical book has had a big strength.”
Norris also advocated finding ways for print and digital to work together. He suggested placing a tracking code on the spine of a book that, when scanned, could provide sales information for the audio or e-book versions of the book and lead the reader back to the bricks-and-mortar retailer that originally made the book sale.
“Say you’re standing across the train platform from someone who’s reading a book your interested in,” Norris said. “You could just scan the spine. Not only does the publisher continue to bring in revenue, but so does the physical retailer associated with that book.”