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Amy Lou Jenkins is the award-winning author of Every Natural Fact: Five Seasons of Open-Air Parenting

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E-books Increasing in Popularity

23% of adults are likely to read an e-book in the next year. 16% said that they had read an e-book at sometime. However, there is considerable price resistance with regard to the prices consumers are prepared to pay for both hand held book readers and ebooks themselves.


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Recent quantitative research conducted by found that 23% of adults say they are likely to read an e-book in the next year. 16% said that they had read an e-book at sometime, with the great majority reading on their computer (not on a handheld device). However, when asked at what price point they would choose an e-book over the cheapest available paper edition, more than 45% said they would only buy the e-book if it was half the price or less. Almost 1/3rd said they would buy the paper edition even if the e-book was free. Considerable price resistance is also apparent when respondents were asked how much they would be prepared to pay for a handheld device that they could read books on. 44% answered ‘only if it was free’, with only 14% prepared to pay over $100. Morgan-Witts, CEO of BookBrowse LLC, comments “16% penetration is encouraging for those in the e-book business. However, the question of how quickly the product life cycle moves beyond the ‘early adopter stage’ rests with both the publishing industry and the technology providers. Publishers need to make more content available as ebooks and find an appropriate price for that content. One challenge is consumer perception that ebooks should be cheaper because there are no paper, warehousing or shipping costs. However, publishers state that there are significant expenses required to build and maintain a digital infrastructure and that there are still marketing and conversion costs.”

Morgan-Witts added, “EBook software providers need to continue to improve the readability and functionality of ebooks, while device makers need to improve screen resolution and bring hardware costs down. Until these issues are resolved,” said Morgan-Witts, “I believe that overall market penetration will remain relatively low and that, even among those who have tried the format, e-books will be a small percentage of their total book purchases”.

About BookBrowse: selects the cream of the latest books and provides a substantial excerpt of each, plus reviews, synopses, author biographies, interviews and reading guides, so that visitors don’t have to judge a book by its cover – they can read it for themselves. BookBrowse is unique in being the only website to include an excerpt with each book, with many excerpts unique to, or first available at currently features more than 800 titles in 30 different categories. is not a bookseller, instead visitors are encouraged to buy at their preferred bookstore on or offline. In May 2001 BookBrowse served approximately 800,000 page views to 150,000 visitors.

Sample size = 1,224. Demographic profile = 76% USA, 10% Canada, 15% 25-34 years old, 57% 25-54 years old, 14% 55-64 years old. 85% female. Research conducted March/April 2001. More demographics at: