Monday, May 5, 2008

eBook Reading reported

Last month Tickermine took a random poll about reading; electronic reading on eBook readers in particular.  I know that random self selected polling is not exactly scientific.  But it is an interesting snapshot of those who have strong opinions on any given subject. 

kindle and sony

I was fascinated by both the questions and the responses.  

  • Do you own a copy of an eBook?
    • 33% said they owned an eBook 67% said they did not.
  • Do you plan to own one?
    • 37% said they planned to buy one in the future
    • 63% said they would not
  • What is the most you would be willing to pay for one?
    • 57% said they would be willing to pay under $100
    • 23% said they would pay $100-$200.
    • 11% stated $200-$300
    • 6% capped their price at $300-$400.
    • 3% said they would be willing to pay over $400.
  • Which factors influence your decision to purchase an eBook?
    • 32% cited how many books it can hold
    • 26% answered wireless downloading of the material
    • 14% were concerned with battery
    • 11% stated the size
    • 6% responded that weight was the primary concern
  • How would you use an eBook?
    • 60% said reading books
    • 11% said web content
    • 9% said they would read magazines
    • 9% said  reading blog
    • 6% said documents
    • 5% said newspapers.
  • Which brand would you prefer buying?
    • 37% chose Kindle
    • 34% preferred Sony Reader. 
    • 29% said they prefer reading on printed paper.

The people who chose to answer this poll, were for the most part people who did not own and eBook and did not plan to buy one and yet they have very strong opinions about what they are willing to pay and which reader they prefer. 

The thing that strikes me hardest is that only 6% were willing to pay $300-$400 for the reader and yet 37% picked the $400 Kindle.  Only 11% were willing to pay $200-$300 and yet 34% picked the Sony reader.  You might say that only 17% were actually willing to pay for either of the two most well know readers on the market.

The second thing I find curious is that the biggest influencing factor is the number of books the device will hold.  Only 11% were concerned with screen size.  If you had asked me to guess I would have reversed those two results. 

I am not sure exactly what this all means. Clearly there is a large disconnect between what people want and what eBook Reader manufacturers are charging.

I can't help but wonder about the influencing factors for buying an eBook reader.  Both the Kindle and the Sony claim to hold 200 books on the device and yet they both have additional memory card capability which infinitely expand storage capacity.  The most notable answer is the answer about wireless access.  Kindle has done a great job of promoting that particular feature.  The problem of course is that it doesn't necessarily work well in real life. 

In the final analysis, eBooks have a long way to go before they are priced low enough and before eReading will be a generally accepted reading method.

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