Close but no Wifi: Digital sales overtake actual books

By on May 21, 2014

The death knell has seemingly rung for the physical book as digital sales take over for the first time.

What’s that we hear? The collective sound of the publishing industry quaking in its boots? And quake they must, for a new report has found that the inevitable has finally happened: More of us are reading digital ebooks than books.

The report, by Deloitte, found that for the first time, 51 percent say they buy more ebooks than physical copies.

According to the survey, the most popular way to find out about new books is Amazon, with 39 percent browsing its hallowed shelves, compared with 22 percent who visit chain bookshops and a measly seven percent of us who look to independent bookstores for a good read. Friends’ recommendations and word of mouth fared better as the second most influential way to find books, with 30 percent.

The news isn’t all bad, however. The report suggested that the average UK household is spending around R15 000 per year on media; with 52 percent of this spent on one-off purchases of books, DVDs, and newspapers.

Of the respondents, 80 percent said they’d read a newspaper online or in print, but just half of that would pay for it themselves. So who pays for it, you ask? Ten percent said they only read free papers and another 10 percent get their daily news fix either online or have access paid for by someone else.

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