Nathan Bransford, Author

Monday, December 5, 2016

Will you ever buy mostly e-books? The results! (2016)

For the 10th consecutive year, I asked people if they could see themselves going mostly paper free.

We seem to have settled into a bit of an equilibrium. Ever since 2011, the number of e-book aficionados has hovered between 44% and 49%, but last year there was anomalous reversal down to 40.5%. Interestingly, this year's bump back to 47.1% was mainly driven by people coming off of the fence and choosing the "maybe" and "I don't know" options in fewer numbers.

With all the usual caveats (unscientific poll, different sample sizes and audiences), here are the people who welcome their coming e-book overlords:

2007: 7% (!)
2008: 11%
2009: 19%
2010: 32%
2011: 47%
2012: 47%
2013: 49%
2014: 44%
2015: 40.5%
2016: 47.1%

And here are the paper dead-enders who will go down swinging for their paper books:

2007: 49%
2008: 45%
2009: 37%
2010: 30%
2011: 25%
2012: 25%
2013: 25%
2014: 28%
2015: 38.6%
2016: 37.8%

What do you make of these results? Are we locked in a stalemate? What would be a potential game-changer?


Janiss Garza said...

How interesting that the number of physical book sticklers jumped in 2015! I wonder if people are just attached... or if there will always be a place for physical books? I personally like having them... although I do more reading these days on my devices.

Craig said...

I guess e-books have been out long enough that most readers have taken a stance... hence less wishy-washy answers.

For me it's been set for a while: Fiction on my Kindle... non-fiction I want a physical book.

Oldy said...

If you could get an autograph on an ebook, now THAT would be a game-changer.

Anonymous said...

The game changer would be the elimination of DRM so that they would actually sell us the books rather than a (very) limited use right.

Jeff Mcneill said...

It is clear the problem is a non-scientific poll, so what do you expect? Tea leaves might be a better approach.

Nathan Bransford said...

There's always one...

Sophia said...

LOL, Nathan... ;)

I like both, but there are some books I'm not sure how I'd like in ebook format, such as _S._--I'm still plugging through it though. Great concept, but the story isn't exactly a page turner. I'd love to see more books like that, where you get all these extras with it. Such a cool idea. And I'd certainly be open to an ebook with its own take on it.

Shari Pratt said...

Autographs - that's the biggest issue for me. Still hoping for Shakespeare's. And there is the cachet of a printed book, especially if it's well produced and a keeper of a story. I've read paperbacks I loved so much that I later bought the hardback version.

Cassie Greutman said...

I like real books a little better but if they end up making interactive ebooks that might change.

Unknown said...

This sounds like a trend, with a twist. I would like to know the age demographics, particularly of the paper-book people. If they are all 50+, then the bulge is a hail-Mary thing and the end is in sight. It they are younger than the ebook people, then paper rules.

In spite of that, the figures seem to show that for some time now, both will see action.

Personally, I buy a hell of a lot of both. The ebooks store better but don't have the impact of impressing house guests.


Greg Child said...

I still love reading real books but considering storage, I would go for e-books.

James Powell said...

I would go for e-books when I travel because I can bring a lot of books without the hassle and storage issues but when at home I prefer real books. The smell of paper really add a nice feel to it.

Gwendolyn said...

A physical book will always win out for me. Over the weekend, I checked out an e-book from my local library. When I found myslef trying to afix a sticky note to a page, it reafirmed my love of physical books.

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