Shelf Awareness reports on our third annual survey of book readers, focusing on the effect of the Borders closing on booksellers. Verso Digital will be presenting the full results of this survey and its implications January 19, 2012 at the American Bookseller Association Winter Institute and January 25, 2012 at Digital Book World.
For reference, here are links to the first survey (version presented at the ABA’s Day of Education at the 2010 Book Expo America) and the second annual survey (version presented at the 2011 Digital Book World conference).
Over 28% of e-reader owners have used unregulated file-sharing services, such as RapidShare, Megaupload and Hot File to download at least one e-book within the last twelve months, and 6% have used such services to download ten or more titles during this interval.
The results are based on Verso Digital’s 2009 Survey of Book-Buying Behavior, the full results of which will be presented at the upcoming Digital Book World conference, January 26-27 at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers in New York City. Conducted in two waves during November and December, 2009, the survey polled 5,640 book-buying respondents, weighted to mirror the U.S. adult population. The results are statistically reliable within a 1.6 percentage-point margin of error, at a 95% probability level.
The Survey further reveals that questionable downloading, while affecting all age and gender brackets, is concentrated disproportionately among younger male readers. Among males aged 18-34, over 45% report engaging in such downloading activity within the past twelve months. Nearly 13% have downloaded ten or more e-books from file-sharing services, more than twice the level of the Survey population as a whole.
Jack McKeown, industry consultant and Director of New Business Development for Verso Digital, acknowledged that “the results are bound to set off ripples of alarm within a publishing industry already distracted by issues of e-book pricing, timing and potential cannibalization of print sales.”