Tag Archives: survey

Vast majority of Europeans read at least one book a year, publishers claim

2017-03-24

The whole media industry, including books, is in fundamental transformation from traditional media to digital products. It is fascinating to follow how some parts of the world adopt new media products faster than other regions. Cultural reasons, traditions, legislation, and the book industry itself affect the pace of change. Many end-of-the-world scenarios have been presented for books that have to compete over audiences’ precious time with other media, like movies and music.

The Federation of European Publishers (FEP) has drafted a report on the state of the book business in Europe. It was published in March 2017, and one of its conclusions is that books are doing fine despite very competitive media landscape.

In many European countries, 60-80% of people read at least one book a year. Czech, Germany, Estonia, Luxembourg, Austria, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and Norway having the highest share of book readers. There are some exceptions, of course, like Portugal and Romania, where residents have something else more worthwhile to do than to read books.

reads one book a year, Europe countries, by FEP
The trend that people are reading less can be seen in the statistics, but it is not the end-of-the-world kind of thing. The trend is somewhat inconsistent: Italy and Germany show an increase in the number of book readers.

The same survey reports that the number of brick-and-mortar bookstores in Europe has increased. At its peak in 2010, more than 32 275 bookstores stocked paper and ink on their shelves for customers. A rapid fall followed that bottomed in 2013 (26 766 bookstores). Since then, new stores have opened, and the number of bookstores in Europe is on the rise again.

Number of bookstores in Europe by FEP
Here is an interesting question: the number of bookstores is growing in Europe, the market share of ebooks is growing, but people read slightly less. How does it add up?

There are many ways to assess and measure how the book industry is doing. One of the most innovative analysts is Author Earnings that primarily tracks sales of large online bookstores, like Amazon, Apple iBooks, Google Play and Kobo. The February 2017 Author Earnings report indicates that 42% of all book sales in the U.S. comes from ebooks, and in the UK, ebooks are 34% of all book sales.

A report published in March 2017 by the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) states that the market share of ebooks in the UK is 17% (in 2015). That’s a huge difference: is the correct market share for ebooks 17 or 34 percent? Two factors may explain a big portion of the gap in numbers: FEP doesn’t include independent publishers and self-publishers in its statistics, whereas Author Earnings tallies up them as well. FEP gets most of its sales data from traditional booksellers, whereas Author Earnings tries its best to get accurate data from big online bookstores.

Considering moving to, or working remotely from another country? These are the healthiest countries in the world

2017-03-11

Usually expats live and work in a country where they have been sent to for a few years, whereas digital nomads may move to a new country after a month. Nonetheless, the status of health services and the quality of the environment in the destination country are major factors when considering where to move. InterNations conducted a large survey where they asked people who have lived abroad their opinion about the health situation in countries they have lived in. Here are the results.

The ranking of the top 13 healthiest countries in the world includes 7 European countries and 6 countries from other parts of the world. Austria was ranked the number one country, followed by Taiwan and Finland.

InterNations is the world’s largest network of people who are living and working overseas. InterNations asked the members of the network to rank their health and well-being in the countries where they are living or have lived. This particular question was part of a wider survey on the quality of living abroad.

They asked 14,300 people living overseas to rate 43 aspects of life in their new country. Respondents represent 174 nationalities who are living in 191 countries or territories,

These are the 13 healthiest countries in the world according to the InterNation survey.

1. Austria.
Is it the Alps, Mozart, ski slopes, Vienna or something else that makes Austria do so well in quality of life surveys like this? All of that and good healthcare.
Austria Alps, photo by Francisco Antunes

2. Taiwan.
Taiwan and Japan were the only Asian countries ranked high in well-being in the survey. Stray dogs and beggars roam the streets of the capital Taipei, but in general expats were very happy with health services.
Taipei by Ludovic Lubeigt

3. Finland.
Finland is a country where everything works, and that concerns healthcare as well. While expats thank the reasonable cost of medical care in the country, the nation is in a process of totally renewing its healthcare system (because of high costs).

Fish market at Market Square in Helsinki, Finland.

Fish market at Market Square in Helsinki, Finland.

4. Japan.
Japan is quickly aging, and it is the reason why the country leads the world in the development of personal assistant robots. The other parts of the health system work fine as well.

5. Israel
Perhaps it is surprising to see Israel ranked so high on wellbeing, but if you forget the serious issues with personal safety and security, it has other positive things on its side.

6. Denmark
Denmark and its capital Copenhagen have been voted as the best places to live many times and it shows in this survey as well. Health services in the former Viking country are regarded excellent.

7. Germany.
On autobahns people may sometimes challenge death by driving as fast as their Porsches and BMWs go, but maybe they rely on country’s reliable health services.

8. France.
Tax rates in France are among the highest in Europe (if not in the world), but the locals say that they are so proud of their excellent welfare system that they don’t mind paying their taxes.

9. Costa Rica.
Expats are happy with Costa Rica in general and health services available in the country.

10. Spain
When an expat is sent to Spain to work in an air-conditioned office from 9:30am until 7pm, people who don’t know any better, wish him or her sunny vacation days on the beach. Nothing could be further from the truth. In any case, high quality health services are readily available both in public and private institutions. Spain’s climate probably adds points to the well-being ranking.

11. New Zealand
Not only one of the world’s most exciting vacation destinations, New Zealand has a high living standard and welcoming people.

12. Canada
Canada is the only North American country that made it to the top 13. The country’s large cities have consistently been ranked high in the best cities to live in surveys as well.

13. Sweden.
The mother of welfare states continues to welcome immigrants and refugees while maintaining its health services in top condition.

Via Independent.

People who read a lot is the biggest customer group for ebooks and ereaders

2016-04-26

Ebook retailer and ereader device vendor Kobo recently published a survey that confirms many assumptions we have had about people who read ebooks. Who are they? Young or old? Men or women? The Kobo survey tells us that the typical ereader/ebook user is a middle aged, or older, woman who is a voracious reader. That’s exactly the same group of people who is buying and reading the most printed books.

According to the Kobo ebook reader survey, 75% of the most avid readers are women (ed. note: occasional ebook readers is likely to be a larger, more diverse group of people). Out of these active readers, 77% are 45 years of age or older. The largest single group (30%) being 55 to 64 years. In the age group 65+, men represent 34% of the most avid readers.

Kobo is able to collect plenty of information on their customers’ buying and reading habits because the company has an online bookstore, it markets ereaders and provides reading applications for computers and mobile devices. When we buy products from any online store, the stores are able to capture many pieces of data about us – not only the compulsory fields that everyone has to fill in. In addition, companies that provide reading apps and connected devices tend to track our reading behavior in the background as we read, underline and possibly comment a book.

Kobo also asked a market research company to survey their customers. The combined results are published in the White Paper “How the Best Readers in the World Read”. Here are a few highlights from the paper.
kobo, ebook reading survey
Where ebook readers like to enjoy their books?
By a clear margin, the most common places to read are home and while traveling. It makes so much sense to pack a tablet or an ereader with a stack of digital books into a travel electronics kit. No more carrying heavy printed books in a bag to the other side of the world.
kobo, ebook reading survey
What was the key factor for the decision for the last book purchase?
It is remarkable how little impact recommendations by friends, critics, or online sources have on purchase decision according to the Kobo survey. Four key factors were:

1. Genre
2. Author
3. Series
4. Subject

Kobo also reports that since the beginning of 2016, they have seen a 60% increase in sales on titles generated through data-driven recommendations and related-reading suggestions. The retailer has simply improved its algorithms that provide book recommendations to customers. This must be the reason why Amazon has – for as long as we can remember – been keen to display recommended products on every page you visit. Many times, Amazon’s recommendations actually are very much to the point.

What does all this mean to the future of ebooks and ereaders?

First, the survey results largely explain why ebooks so far have been replicas of printed books. People who like the look of printed books want ebooks that look roughly the same. That’s what the industry has given to readers in simply laid out EPUB and Kindle titles.

Second, the survey results explains why ebooks have not yet developed beyond the look and possibilities of printed books. Middle aged and older readers are not necessarily interested in new features, like interactivity in books. Younger generations could be interested in new features that might attract them to read more, but they are not buying books as much as older generations. Middle-aged people are buying and, to a large degree, financing the industry.

As movies and music have gone digital, the products have changed, or they are under a long change development phase. Movies have adopted effects and animated characters that were not possible in the analog era. Music industry has changed focus from albums to singles as streaming and video services have become popular. Live performances are more important for artists’ livelihood than earlier.

The book trade hasn’t yet experienced major shifts like many other media industries already have gone through. It is not an option that everything stays the same in the book industry when products go digital. Things will change. Who knows how and when?

Book publishers believe ebooks will dominate book sales in 5 years

2015-10-31

British book industry newspaper The Bookseller has published the results of its annual Digital Census survey. The survey asks publishers (also outside Great Britain) to assess the major trends that are affecting the business of book publishing. The results for year 2015 indicate that publishers have accepted the fact that digital books are the future.

bookseller digital census 2015

Source: The Bookseller


21% of book publishers believe ebooks will make up more than half of their book revenues by 2020. In other words, in five years one-fifth of book industry depends their businesses on digital products.

38% of publishers expect ebooks to be so significant part of their sales that they would be in trouble without digital products. These enterprises anticipate ebooks will bring 21-50% of sales by 2020. Altogether, 59% of publishers believe that their businesses will rely on digital products in five years.

bookseller digital census 2015

Source: The Bookseller digital census 2015


If we look at the situation today, where the publishers are regarding their ebook sales, next five years will mean a massive transformation for the publishing business. 59% of publisher get less than 20% of their sales from digital books today.

Somewhat surprisingly, publishers expect ebook subscription services to be the most important channel to reach customers by 2020. 37% of publishers regard subscription services as a key business model for the future of book.

bookseller digital census 2015

Source: The Bookseller


The Bookseller Digital Census 2015 also unveiled five strong trends that are shaping book business in the near future.
1. Smartphones become more common ebook reading devices than tablets or dedicated e-readers.
2. Sales of digital books is still growing, but at a slower rate (we believe this concerns markets like US and UK, because in markets like Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands ebook sales are still in their early stages).
3. Self-publishing is slightly losing its appeal (amount of work, costs, marketing, poor sales the primary reasons).
4. Ebook pricing, amount of author royalties and copy-protection of products divides the opinions of publishing professionals.
5. Half of publishing professionals fear that they are not ready for the next big thing in the digital revolution (whatever it happens to be).

More details at The Bookseller.

Taxman’s position on ebooks and printed books varies across the world

2015-08-28

In large parts of the world, only the air you breathe is tax-free. Everything else tends to come with some sort of tax component (I learned this at Venice, Italy where someone was selling ad-supported free maps). The curious thing is that tax systems vary across the world, and even within a country. For instance, in Norway you pay zero value added tax for a printed travel guide of Oslo, but 25% VAT for the same product as an ebook.

In many markets, publishing professionals regard that the higher VAT for ebooks is preventing the new digital economy to flourish. In any case, it doesn’t make sense to tax a modern product that saves trees and transportation costs at a higher rate than a traditional product. In EU, France and Luxemburg have actively tried to lower ebook VAT rates for a couple of years. In 2015, also Germany, Italy and Poland pushed EU to allow lower tax rates for ebooks.

Nonetheless, there are countries that don’t tax ebooks at all, whereas majority of countries apply higher VAT for ebooks than for printed books. Two publishers’ associations, IPA and FEP, mapped out the real situation of VAT policies across the world for ebooks and printed books.

vat rates for ebooks, survey by IPA and FEP
Purple: Zero rate of VAT/GST for ebooks.
Orange: Reduced rate of VAT/GST for ebooks.
Red: Standard rate of VAT/GST for ebooks.
Green: No VAT regime.

Highlights from the survey by IPA and FEP:

  • Worldwide, only 22% of countries apply the standard rate of VAT to printed books, while a large majority of nations (69%) apply standard VAT to e-books.
  • 37 countries apply the same rate of VAT/GST to print and e-books.
  • 35 countries apply a higher rate of VAT/GST to e-books than to print.
  • 4 countries (5%) apply a reduced rate of VAT to e-books.
  • The average VAT/GST rate applied to printed books is 5.75%.
  • The average VAT/GST rate applied to e-books is 12.25%.
  • Standard VAT rates in Asia (8.6%) are significantly lower than in Europe (21%).
  • The majority of African countries surveyed (8 out of 13) have zero-rate VAT on printed books.
  • Denmark applies the highest VAT rate on printed books (25%).
  • Hungary applies the highest VAT rate on e-books (27%).
  • Find all the details of the survey here.

    Publishing professionals in 79 countries were interviewed for the survey. 36 of them were in Europe, 13 in Asia, 13 in Africa, 9 in Latin America, 5 in the Middle East, plus Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The United States was not included in the survey because each state has its own sales tax regime.

    The survey was conducted by two publishing organizations: IPA and FEP. The International Publishers Association (IPA) is a federation of national, regional and specialist publishers’ associations. More than 60 organisations from more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Americas are members. The Federation of European Publishers (FEP) is a non-commercial umbrella association of book publishers associations in the European Union.

    Ebooks Are Top 5 Digital Content Type for All Age Groups

    2015-06-18

    Young generations didn’t grow with printed newspapers, magazines or books, but a mobile phone firmly attached to their hands. It is not a big surprise that the Millennial generation consumes media content on their smartphones whereas Baby Boomers rely on desktops, laptops and even traditional media. Somewhat surprising is, however, that the types of digital content that different age groups like to consume on their computers and mobile devices are almost the same with ebooks at 4th.

    The top 4 most consumed content type on a PC and on a mobile device is exactly the same for all generations:
    1. Blogs
    2. Images
    3. Comments
    4. Ebooks
    The fifth most consumed content type for Millennials is audiobooks, case studies for Generation X, and reviews for Baby Boomers.

    digital content types by age group, buzzstream

    The survey was conducted by BuzzStream and Fractl who surveyed over 1200 individuals, and classified them into three age groups: Millennials (born between 1977 and 1995), Generation Xers (born between 1965 and 1976), and Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964).

    Another, even larger media study was recently conducted by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. The Digital News Report 2015 – Tracking the Future News surveyed over 20 000 people in 12 countries, focusing on differences in news access between digital and traditional media and between age groups.

    The research by Reuters indicates that 45 years is the dividing age in media culture. People who are younger than 45 rely on online news sources, whereas people older than 45 primarily get their news from television.

    news sources by age, Reuters
    Reuters also discovered that in many countries the Internet already is the primary source for news for all age groups on average. People in Finland, Australia, Denmark, Ireland, USA and Brasil specified the Internet as their number one news media source.

    main news sources for media users, Reuters

    Chinese Have Quickly Adopted Ebooks on Mobile Devices

    2015-05-07

    Those were the days when people in China had to go out on the streets to read the news that were posted on walls. Today, more Chinese connect to Internet services than in any other country. Chinese have also widely adopted large screen smartphones. Perhaps one thing leads to another, but in any case, reading ebooks is now more popular than reading paper books in China.

    chenzen, china boookstore by robert scoble
    A bookstore in Chenzen, China by Robert Scoble on Flickr.

    The Chinese government news site reported on a study that was conducted by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication in September 2014. The organization surveyed 35 000 adults across China about their reading habits. The highlights of the survey results are:

    – 58.1% of Chinese adults read digital books in 2014, and 58% read print books.
    – Ebooks were up 8%, but reading paper books grew only 0.2%.
    – 51.8% read on mobile phones, while 49.4% used a computer for reading.
    – Only 5.3% used an e-reader, and 9.9% a tablet.
    – Reading online took about 55 minutes each day on average, whereas printed books got citizens’ attention for 19 minutes and newspapers for 19 minutes as well.
    – 67.6% of Chinese between 18 and 39 years had adopted digital reading habits.

    The numbers are impressive for ebooks. China may be the first market where reading ebooks became more popular than reading paper books. Sales of ebooks in China compared with the sales of printed books is another matter. The sales of digital goods, such as music and movies lags behind the sales of respective physical goods, and books are no exception during the next few years.