Friday, January 20, 2012

Why Some Book Buyers Are Increasingly Resistant To E-Readers

Book marketing firm Verso Advertising recently found that over half of book buyers say they are “not at all likely” to purchase an e-reader in the next 12 months—up from 40 percent in 2009. Why?

I asked Verso’s Jack McKeown and Denise Berthiaume why they think avid book buyers—those who buy at least ten books a year—are increasingly resistant to e-readers. McKeown and Berthiaume are also the co-owners of Books & Books, an independent bookstore on Long Island. Here’s what they think:

1. E-readers and tablets do not yet provide sufficient “relative advantage” over physical books to convince this hard core group of book readers to switch to these devices. In other words, the convenience of e-readers is not enough of a factor to offset the abandonment of the codex—with its stereoscopic (two-page) effect, tactile and aesthetic appeal, and more immersive impact—for many hardcore book readers.

2. Screen fatigue: Book readers, and in particular avid readers, enjoy the escape that physical books provide from the array of screen technologies that absorb so much of their working day.

3. Avid book readers enjoy the discoverability experience of shopping in a physical bookstore where contact with the physical product, and interaction with knowledgeable staff, convey an added benefit.
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