Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Monday, August 6, 2012

New Study Shows Readers' Format Preferences Vary

The percentage of consumers are buying titles in digital formats has fallen, but more people are also saying they have no preference when it comes to the format of a book, according to the latest Book Industry Study Group e-book reading survey.

Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading reports the portion of consumers who “exclusively or mostly” buy e-books fell from nearly 70% in August 2011 to 60% just nine months later. At the same time, the percentage of respondents who either had no preference between e-book or print formats, or who bought some of both, went up from 25% to 34%, signaling that consumers have become more comfortable with a variety of reading formats.

The study found that ownership of the Amazon Kindle Fire has increased from 7% to 20% of respondents from December 2011 to June 2011, and that the use of multifunctional tables as a primary reading device is growing at about the same pace that the preference for dedicated e-readers has dropped. Preference for the Kindle as a primary reading device fell from 48% in August 2011 to 35% in May 2012, while black-and-white and color versions of the Nook e-reader slipped from 17% to 13% over the same period.

The Apple iPad remained steady in the ownership survey at 17% from August 2011 to May 2012, but now trails the Kindle Fire in the ownership category. The number of respondents who use the iPad as an e-reader also dipped from 10% to 9%.

While the iPad may have moved into second place in the BISG consumer survey, Student Monitor found that 66% of respondents to its survey of 1,200 college students say that the iPad was the “in” device on campus, even though fewer than 12% actually own one. At the same time, the Student Monitor research showed that 88% of students own a laptop computer, 19% have desktops, and just 10% say they own a tablet.

The research also found students’ preference in course material formats may be shifting. Printed textbooks continue to dominate sales, but students saying they “prefer traditional textbooks” has declined from 50% two years ago to 39% in the most recent Student Monitor report.

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