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One third of Britons own e-reader

27 April 2012

From The Bookseller:

Nearly a third of people in the UK own an e-reader, with a further 15% planning to buy one in the next six months, a survey by media law firm Wiggin has found.

The company conducted an online survey in March which found that many particupants anticipated taking up e-reading in the near future and a third of those currently reading e-books download them illegally.

A spokesperson for Wiggin said: “E-reading is one of the UK’s fastest rising leisure activities—four in ten of those surveyed (40%) currently read e-books and of these 39% plan to up their digital reading in the next 12 months.”

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

Passive Guy admits a little skepticism about this survey, but he hopes it’s true (except for the piracy part).

Ebooks, Non-US

10 Comments to “One third of Britons own e-reader”

  1. brendan stallard


    A third, that must be indeed worrying.

    Mind, from my memory of all strata of society in UK…in comparison to the USA, copyrights are regarded less stringently than here.

    The man calling once a week with all manner of counterfeit DVD’s, (with decent covers and printing,) for two quid a pop. The party where folks get together and someone comes round with suitcases full of clothing/bags which looks like the over-priced tat in the shops, but is counterfeit.

    Yeah, maybe a third isn’t out of line.

    I was going to buy an MP3 on Amazon yesterday, but in purchasing, the MP3 in question, (Queen Greatest Hits) would have carried an identifier to me and the purchase.

    Heck, I’ve already got the CD, I won’t bother. It’s not that I’m a pirate. I buy the stuff on Amazon and never download it, merely play it from the site. Someone could gain access to that site, it happens, and spread it all over the place.

    Dire thoughts of nasty Denver underground jails for the rest of my life enter my mind. Nah….I’ll keep my money.

    So does DRM halt commerce, or aid it?



    • I was just told by a Brit on Twitter that yesterday she saw a contest for a Kindle in the supermarket – sponsored by the police.

    • Not sure the UK is any different from the US when it comes to counterfeit goods, Brendan.

      One need only go to American sites like eBay and iOffer to have endless choice of counterfeit ebooks, DVDs, music and tangibles all being sold quite openly.

      At best the offending seller, if reported, receives a slapped wrist. So long as major sites like these rake in the profits from the illegal sales and the only the rights holder loses out then they have no incentive to clamp down.

  2. Last April my longtime pal in Cheshire got a Kindle, which surprised the heck out of me. She’s been reading like crazy since. Imagine my surprise when a couple days ago she told me she got an iPad for her birthday. And she works at the OxFam bookshop.

  3. I wonder if the illegally-downloaded ebooks are territory-locked to the US, without an equivalent UK e-edition? (If that’s the case, then the solution is for the author to obtain the non-US rights and upload those suckers to Amazon.uk or anywhere else that UK-only (so as not to get in trouble with the US versions) stuff will go. I believe Lois McMaster Bujold has done roughly this with some of her books; they’re on Amazon UK, but a few aren’t on Amazon US, because of the zoning thing.)

  4. I’ve heard a lot of complaints from readers about territorial restrictions. The thing is, most small-fry/debut authors (unless they have *very* savvy agents) sell World rights to the publishers. The pubs sit on the rights for years/forever, hoping to get a foreign print deal. I believe the trad publishers see releasing an English-language digital edition in a foreign country as being an impediment to selling foreign print rights there, and therefore are very resistant to doing so…

  5. It doesn’t say how they did this survey – was it a self selecting bunch of folks? Did they attempt to get a representative sample of the population? If a third of the population has an ebook reader, then I’d say 2/3 of them have it in a drawer somewhere. My ebook reader is on a shelf. Half of the people I know who bought/got ebook readers at christmas have gone back to reading paperbacks.

    I commute to the capitol each day, the ebook reader I see the most is the kindle but even then it is only like a few people in the carriage (at the very most) – there’s like 80 people in the carriage. Most people have papers or smart phones or laptops. I see way more ipads or laptops than I do ebook readers.

    • You can read ebooks on smartphones and iPads and laptops, so perhaps the survey includes them in the one-third?

      • Most certainly this survey refers to devices that can read ebooks, not e-readers per se.

        With a population of 60-70 million the suggestion that 20 million ereaders are floating about in the UK, where even the Kindle is less than two years old, and devices like the KindleFire unavailable, is clearly ludicrous.

  6. If you include phones, ipads, and laptops in the mix, what you are really talking about is a survey of awareness. Pretty much everyone in the UK with the disposable income to buy new books has one or more devices that can read ebooks, but most people are not aware of it.

    I know a lot of people who read ebooks on their phone who don’t have a dedicated ereader.

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