Who is reading ebooks?

Michael Tamblyn with Kobo, a company that gathers and shares ebook information, recently presented a webcast on their company’s data about readers who are moving to the digital realm. According to Kobo’s research, people who read ebooks fall into four main categories.

First, there is the Voracious eInk Reader. This is the person who typically buys $35 worth of ebooks on their first visit to a site and then purchases on average $25 seven times a month. He calls this reader the “most productive sales channel.” As time goes by, their purchasing frequency increases. And surveys show that the more passionate traditional book buyers are entering the ebook market. The most popular genres of books they purchase are Juvenile and Young Adult, Business, Biography, Religion, History, Health and Self-Help.

A second type is the Small Screen Reader. These are people who read on their iPhones and Blackberrys. This group is the largest in terms of numbers, but smaller in terms of sales. Their first visit usually sees a $15 purchase with an $11 purchase made about one time per month. They downoad a lot of free content. The subjects most purchased are General Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, Thrillers, Literary and Science Fiction.

Next is the iPad Socialite. They spend $22 on average at their first visit and $16 slightly more than one time weekly. They read books on their iPad primarily.

Last is the Freegan. This is the consumer who is intent on building a library with content that is low or no cost. They are resistant to marketing and do not have much value as a customer, according to Tamblyn.

In addition to this data, Tamblyn also threw in a few other tidbits about the ebook market.

  • Most ebook purchases are fiction. “It’s still very much about recreational reading,” states Tamblyn.
  • The typical ebook sells for $7.50 – $8.50.
  • Most ebook reading takes place in the morning and just a bit late at night.
  • The biggest ebook buying takes place between 8 p.m – Midnight.
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