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Ebooks Still Scrabbling For Market Share

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Some writers will no doubt be able to make allowances based on their target audience’s tastes, or, as a practical matter, how much money’s in their pocket. But generally speaking, it looks like letting everything ride on the concept of ebooks is a bad idea.

A lot of data has come to light in just the past day or so indicating that ebooks still aren’t close to mainstream. Let’s start with a Slashdot poll. Slashdot readers are geeks, right? They love tech and buy stuff before everybody else. But 25 percent of a poll’s 10,731 respondents have said ebooks “will never lure me away from my paper books!” Also, a full 51 percent said they’re “not yet compelling enough to buy.”

So there’s one ebook failure. For the rest, let’s turn to Lance Whitney.

Earlier today, he wrote, “Among 1,529 consumers who responded to a July 2009 questionnaire from research firm In-Stat, only 5.8 percent currently own an e-book reader. And only 11 percent of those questioned said they planned to buy one in the next 12 months . . .”

Whitney provided stats from Forrester Research, as well. Forrester found that, even if the prices of ebook readers fell to $98 or less, not even 40 percent of its survey’s participants would commit to buying one in the next six months.

Even if you have to print everything off your personal computer or scrawl it out by hand, then, try not to stake your entire career on attracting readers with just ebooks.


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