A recent article in The Bookseller (21/5/2010, pp 22-23) revealed interesting research on consumer trends regarding digital books. Three quarters of readers are not aware of the Amazon Kindle and three in every five had not heard of a Sony Reader. 68% are unlikely or dead set against buying an ereader. The research was conducted in March of this year.
Despite the huge press coverage on ebooks, enthousiasm about getting an ereader actually dipped, and it's the 41-60 year olds that show most interest. Costs are obviously a major issue currently and equally, people may want to wait and see how the market shapes up. Older readers were more aware of the various products. And men are more likely than women to buy an ereader.
Although this research is obviously of immediate interest to publishers and the booktrade, I was quite surprised at these findings, and wonder what this means for those of us working in libraries. Will publishers be influenced by these sorts of results and publish fewer ebooks? Or are we all waiting for that one universal gadget that will do everything?