Technology writers and critics are predicting 2010 will be a year of great transformation for technology. Experts are all a twitter about the current fashionable acceptance of eBooks and eBook readers. And for a number of reasons
- sale of ebooks grew in 2009 by 176.6% ( or $169.5 million) from the previous year. That’s alot of downloads.
- ebook reader devices are more popular than ever before. Not only are the devices cost competitive, though difference models offer different options depending on usage. Sony Reader was the first device to change our thinking about how we read. Once Amazon’s Kindle came to the market place, it became available to a wider audience of consumers. Now many devices compete for a share of the ebook reader market place.
Early adopters of the Amazon Kindle had a few things in common–they were Amazon customers, could afford the device, were not afraid of technology, and saw how the reader could help them read while commuting or traveling.
“The types of consumers likely to buy an eReader are changing. While early adopters of eReaders were a perfect storm of demographics for Amazon (they could afford the device, they have a need for the device in business travel and urban commuting, they like technology, and they buy lots of books online), future prospects for the devices look completely different. They’re more likely to be female, less tech optimistic, and they read a lot (on average, 5 books per month) but they buy and borrow books from multiple sources, as opposed to buying lots of books online. The big takeaway is that this could spell trouble for Amazon, if competitors can move in to better serve the later waves of adopters who don’t have as strong a relationship with the eCommerce giant.”
By and large they knew about no other readers, and were willing to buy all their books from Amazon. But now that the field is growing beyond this original group, where will the trend take us?
Surveys are beginning to give us a picture of the eBook reading community. Here are some things we’ve learned:
- 70% of Kindle owners are older than 40. More specifically at almost 30% are in the 51-60 year old age category. 24% of the users are 41-50 years old.
- Baby Boomers, the most avid readers, recognize that eBook readers allow them to carry far more reading material. eBooks also allow the individual to read more comfortably by offering an increased font sizes, ease of turning pages for those with arthritic hands etc.
- eBook reader consumers are very cost conscious.
- This may be one of the few technologies that trickle down from an older generation to a younger one. Older users have adopted eBook readers and Twitter more quickly than the younger generation. eBook use may spread to younger people…or a variation might trickle down. It may turn out, for instance, that older readers will choose single purpose devices like the Sony Reader, and younger people may choose a multi-function device like the Apple iPad.
But what are the implications for libraries? Here are a few suggestions:
- We should take advantage of the publicity and interest and make sure we have good eBook collections.
- We should shape our collections with older users in mind ( public libraries).
- We need to spread the word that the library has eBooks that can be read at no cost–legally.
- We should make sure our patrons know that eBooks can be read not only on computers, but that they can use the OverDrive system to download and transfer them to many compatible devices, including the Sony Reader and the Barnes and Noble nook device.
- We should help readers understand that eBook readers will let them control text size and may make it easier for some people to hold and read a book.
- We should help them understand that the Kindle is not compatible with their library’s collection but that there are other brands of electronic reading devices that are.
as found in http://blogs.overdrive.com/library/?tag=/nook