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Materials Spending Survey

Library Journal has published the results of their latest materials spending survey of US public libraries. Highlights:

  • print books have remained at 59% of budgets for 3 years, compared to 65% in 2009
  • ebooks have risen from 1% of budgets in 2009 to 7% this year
  • media represented 20% of budgets in 2009 and is now 24%
  • 75% of budgets are spent on book formats (books, ebooks, audiobooks, downloadable audiobooks)

Mystery/suspense, general fiction and romance are the top circulating categories for adult fiction in both print and ebook formats.

Circulation is considered flat at 0.5% growth, one-third reporting an increase, and nearly one-third reporting a decrease. Among ebooks, fiction represents 80% of circulation.

Posted in Libraries.

Why digital natives prefer print

The Washington Post story on February 22 includes the following highlights for reasons when college students prefer print from the book “Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World,” by Naomi S. Baron:

  • research shows readers remember the location of information by page and text layout and that this plays a key role in comprehension – that the reader is building a mental map of the content and uses this to remember.
  • reading online is “usually spent scanning and skimming, with few places (or little time) for mental markers.” Research showed readers “spend a little more than one minute on Web pages, and only 16 percent of people read word-by-word. That behavior can bleed into reading patterns when trying to tackle even lengthier texts on-screen.”
  • research found students were more likely to multitask reading on-screen (90 percent) compared to print (1 percent)
  • “students like renting textbooks that are already highlighted and have notes in the margins”

The article also comments that Pew studies show the highest print readership rates are among those ages 18 to 29, and the same age group is still using public libraries in large numbers.

Although the article focuses on print use, it also notes times when students prefer digital:

  • “science and math classes, whose electronic textbooks often include access to online portals that help walk them through study problems and monitor their learning.”
  • “when locating information quickly is key — there is no control-F in a printed book to quickly find key words.”

Posted in Reading.

Deloitte finds worldwide print book spending at 80%

Deloitte predicts that print will represent more than 80% of all dollars spent on books worldwide in 2015. Print dollars will be under 80% in the US, but are offset by the continued higher use of print in other countries. This comment and others are found in the January 13, 2015 “Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions 2015” [PDF]

Other highlights related to books:

  • eBooks have hit a plateau or are declining in Canada, the US and UK.
  • 92% of readers ages 18-29 read in print in 2013
  • 37% of millenials read an eBook in 2013
  • nearly half of 16-34 year olds said that eBooks would “never take the place of real books for me”
  • one UK study found that for the 62% who preferred print, the reason was that millenials “like to collect” and “like the smell”

The report also comments on the importance of covers, information retention studies, the closure of bookstores, and the impact of devices. The report includes many other technology and media reports unrelated to books and reading.

Posted in Reading, Retail.

Scholastic report on kids and reading (US)

Scholastic has published a new “Kids and Reading Report” based on 2014 surveys of 2,558 children and parents in the United States. The report covers reading for fun, activities that encourage reading, books children enjoy at different ages, and attitudes towards print vs. ebooks.

Selected highlights:

  • the percentage of children frequently reading for fun (5-7 days/week) has continued to drop, from 37% in 2010 to 34% in 2012 to 31% in 2014
  • 51% of children ages 6-17 are currently reading a book for fun and another 20% just finished one (29% haven’t read one in awhile)
  • reading enjoyment declines sharply after age 8, dropping from 62% to 46% reporting ‘I love it’ or ‘I like it a lot’
  • 61% of children had read an ebook as of 2014, compared to 46% in 2012, however, 77% are still mostly reading print books
  • 65% of children say they’ll always want to read print books even though ebooks are available
  • 55% of those who have read an ebook report that they prefer print – however, the preference for print declines with age, from 66% of children 6-8 to 48% of 15-17 year olds
  • among those who have not read an ebook, interest in reading ebooks has dropped since 2012

The library is the most popular source reported by children for finding books – 77% of children aged 6-11 find books to read for fun at the library, and 58% of 12-17 year olds. The next most popular source is school book fairs at 63% and 28% respectively by age. Among activities that parents use to encourage their children to read for fun, 63% report taking their children to the library as an activity, putting libraries in third place – choosing books from a book fair flyer (57%) or having books at home (54%) are listed slightly more often.

Posted in Libraries.

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eBook subscription services affect indie authors

From GigaOm this week, summarizing several articles about eBooks and subscription services in 2014: “What is now being proven is that market is not infinitely elastic,” publishing industry consultant Mike Shatzkin wrote on his blog on New Year’s Eve. “It seems likely that the low-priced indie authors are disproportionately affected by KU. Who bought indie author ebooks in the first place? The price-sensitive reader! Who switches from buying individual ebooks to the subscription service first? The price-sensitive reader! In other words, the subscription service offering appeals most to the same audience as those who read indie-published ebooks.”

While many more books are now available to readers, the author notes a key problem from a revenue standpoint for the market overall: “if more people aren’t buying and reading more books, it will be a problem for most authors and for all ebook subscription services.”

Posted in Retail.

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Tablets, not ebooks, damage sleep

Numerous news outlets reported this week on a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences for the USA with headlines like this one from the BBC: “E-books damage sleep.” Reading the journal article on the study reveals that it was of 12 people and conducted using tablets. As a result it applies to reading ebooks on iPads and Android tablets (including Kindle Fire and Kobo Arc), as well as any other activities that people might do on a tablet.

GigaOm in “Do e-readers really harm sleep? Depends on what you call an e-reader” clarifies that the research was done in 2010-2011, and does not include e-ink readers, such as the traditional Kobo, Kindle, Nook or Sony, all of which use reflected light and in this sense have the same properties as print books. The study also doesn’t cover side-lit or front-lit displays, such as the Kindle Paperwhite or Kobo Glo.

The news that devices that emit blue light affect sleep (devices which also include TVs and computers), has been reported repeatedly over the past several years, including in other publications from Harvard Medical School.

Posted in Devices.

Wired on ebook challenges for the visually impaired

Wired reported on December 15 about the challenges and opportunities that ebooks and ereading present for the visually impaired. The article primarily focuses on the issues with Kindle:

“When the Kindle 2 was released in 2009, it came with TTS functions that could be used across all Kindle ebooks. Publishers balked. They argued that TTS would negatively impact the audiobook market, and that a computer reading an ebook aloud constituted a violation of copyright. Amazon conceded.” The article goes on to discuss the related legislation:

“If a tablet doesn’t have a text-to-speech feature, you can modify it. Root the tablet and install a TTS app not sanctioned by the manufacturer. More commonly, though, people just strip the DRM off ebooks they buy. Then, the ebook can be uploaded to and read through an e-reader’s existing TTS feature. The problem is, both those workarounds are technically illegal under an esoteric clause in US copyright law.

Here’s why: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a 1998 law designed to protect digital content from infringement. Under Section 1201, it’s illegal to break a technological lock that protects copyrighted content—like an encryption over a tablet or DRM over an ebook. So, it’s not just a voided warranty that would-be readers have to worry about: Web-connected e-readers are essentially tablets, and you can’t legally root or jailbreak a tablet. Even if you just want to trick it out with a cool app that extends the device’s accessibility or functionality.

Breaking the DRM on an ebook is also technically a violation—-but the Librarian of Congress granted an exemption for people who are visually-impaired or have a print impairment. But the ruling is interestingly idiosyncratic: it’s legal for someone with a disability to strip DRM from ebooks, but it’s not legal for developers to create programs or apps that strip DRM.”

Posted in Publishers, Retail.

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Teen reading choices (US)

Nielsen has published a study reporting that 20% of teens buy ebooks, compared to 23% of 18-29 year olds and 25% of 30-44 year olds in the United States. The study notes that many teens tend to borrow and share reading material, and that they also learn about new books from social media.

Posted in Retail.

ALA meets with New York publishers

ALA met with multinational publishers in New York in early December. From the American Libraries magazine’s site:

“Two of the critical issues that we discussed with the publishers are pricing models and digital preservation. Each publisher has a different pricing model, but no single model will suit all libraries—libraries and librarians need choice. Digital preservation was acknowledged as an important issue, with diverse responses from among the companies. With both issues, ALA was invited to further engage with these publishers.” Other key issues, such as accommodations for people with disabilities and privacy, were also discussed.

“The DCWG will be focusing on the development of specific proposals in the next few months,” said Erika Linke. “We will draw upon the full membership and staff of the DCWG, and look to receiving input from ALA members and the library community at large. Thoughtful and strategic ideas, yet practical and realistic for both the publishing and library communities, are needed. We will also consider how ALA can help libraries improve the effectiveness of their engagement with publishers, such as hosting author events.”

Posted in Libraries, Publishers.

Kobo reports on reading trends

Kobo published its inaugural reading report, including the most popular books that are actually finished by Canadians:

“Overall, Canadians find romance to be the most engaging genre, with 62 per cent completion, followed by fantasy (60 per cent) and mystery (59 per cent).”

They also note that “self-improvement books, including cookbooks, health, and self-help books, are more popular during the month of January than at any other time of year. More self-improvement books and books overall were downloaded in January than any other month, likely to kick-off some New Year’s resolutions.”

EBOOK MUST HAVES – 2014’s Bestsellers

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
Insurgent – Veronica Roth
Allegiant – Veronica Roth
Divergent – Veronica Roth
The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood – Diana Gabaldon
The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty
Philomena – Martin Sixsmith

CANADA’S TOP PAGE-TURNERS – The Most Completed Books of 2014

Lover Awakened – J.R. Ward
Eleven on Top – Janet Evanovich
K is for Killer – Sue Grafton
Iron Kissed – Patricia Briggs
F is for Fugitive – Sue Grafton
Sweet Possession – Maya Banks
C is for Corpse – Sue Grafton
Chasing Perfect – Susan Mallery
Plum Spooky – Janet Evanovich
The Janus Stone – Elly Griffiths

Posted in Retail.