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Old 08-21-2019, 10:41 AM   #31
DuckieTigger
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Silently ignored? Hardly. Who exactly do you think Pew surveyed? You seem to be asserting that Pew got it's numbers from the major publishers. Pew is a company that does Surveys of the general public. It seems to me that your issue is that since the survey doesn't match your personal belief, you are reaching for rationals to dismiss the survey.

The survey measures the number of people in the general public who read books and if they read paper, ebooks or audibooks. In some parts of the survey ebooks and audiobooks are grouped together in digital content, in other parts they are not grouped together.

The population grows each year. Even if the percentage of the population who read ebooks stays the same, the number of ebooks purchased would likely grow, just like the number of paper books purchased would likely grown.

I generally take polls and survey's with a grain of salt. On the other hand the trend of audiobook sales increasing matches reports I've seen elsewhere.

My basic take on all this is that change takes time. Yea, I want ebooks to really take off and for every book ever published to be available to me as an ebook. However, as much as I love ebooks, the a person who reads 4 books or less has no real reason to switch to ebooks.

The combination of average reads 12 books a year while the median reads 4 books a year indicates that the vast majority read 4 or less a year. As I said before, that matches a figure that has been cited for years. Most readers only read a few books, while a much smaller group of readers reads a whole lot more.

While I understand your desired narrative, i.e. that indies drive the ebook market, that doesn't mean that it's a case of my tribe wins and everyone else loses. I see the digital market as a market where the indie can compete, unlike the paper market. The market is evolving and likely will continue to evolve for quite some time.
Now you are grasping at straws. Population gets bigger so that is the increase in consumption? Give me a break. And no, they are not getting their data from the BPH. They ask people. And they know exactly what to ask to still not upset the big money publishing houses. Do they have data to show how bad it looks for pbooks? I am sure they do, but they have no interest in sharing that. All it takes is say how many books are consumed in each category. By specifically asking in the survey how many ebooks, audiobooks, pbooks. I am sure they ask that. Publish it? Not.
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Old 08-21-2019, 12:37 PM   #32
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And no, they are not getting their data from the BPH. They ask people. And they know exactly what to ask to still not upset the big money publishing houses. Do they have data to show how bad it looks for pbooks? I am sure they do, but they have no interest in sharing that. All it takes is say how many books are consumed in each category. By specifically asking in the survey how many ebooks, audiobooks, pbooks. I am sure they ask that. Publish it? Not.
I'm not sure what reason there is to believe that?
It is a survey from a reputable survey company.
If you have specific facts to bring to show it is wrong, that is one thing, but at the moment it feels like you disagree with the results, therefore they must be faking it.
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Old 08-21-2019, 02:06 PM   #33
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Pew can only ask so many questions, and in particular they aren’t going to complicate things by asking ‘how many’ of each format people have read. People will not remember, or will fabricate those numbers. They are just trying to get a sense of trends, and surveys like this are fine for that.

It is not at all clear that there is a way to get more detailed information about reading habits. Sales figures, if they were even available, don’t directly reflect reading behavior. I buy a lot of books that I don’t have time to read.

Consider Goodreads. Millions of users, but no reason to think they are representative of the reading population in general, or equally diligent and consistent about recording reading activity. It’s much easier to do this if all reading is of Kindle ebooks, but for audiobooks, other ebook platforms, print books, it is incumbent on you to remember to go to the site or app to record this activity. So even if you had all of that data you would have a lot of work to draw any conclusions from it.
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Old 08-21-2019, 02:45 PM   #34
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Pew can only ask so many questions, and in particular they aren’t going to complicate things by asking ‘how many’ of each format people have read. People will not remember, or will fabricate those numbers. They are just trying to get a sense of trends, and surveys like this are fine for that.

It is not at all clear that there is a way to get more detailed information about reading habits. Sales figures, if they were even available, don’t directly reflect reading behavior. I buy a lot of books that I don’t have time to read.

Consider Goodreads. Millions of users, but no reason to think they are representative of the reading population in general, or equally diligent and consistent about recording reading activity. It’s much easier to do this if all reading is of Kindle ebooks, but for audiobooks, other ebook platforms, print books, it is incumbent on you to remember to go to the site or app to record this activity. So even if you had all of that data you would have a lot of work to draw any conclusions from it.
On the other hand, you can put your name behind any set of numbers and collect a paycheck year after year as long as you don't panic the payer.
Nobody wants to be the messenger that gets shot.
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Old 08-21-2019, 03:05 PM   #35
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On the other hand, you can put your name behind any set of numbers and collect a paycheck year after year as long as you don't panic the payer.
Nobody wants to be the messenger that gets shot.
I don’t understand the point. Are you saying Pew is getting paid by publishers? Evidence for this?
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Old 08-21-2019, 03:12 PM   #36
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I'm not sure what reason there is to believe that?
It is a survey from a reputable survey company.
If you have specific facts to bring to show it is wrong, that is one thing, but at the moment it feels like you disagree with the results, therefore they must be faking it.
Yep, that's my take as well. So far, I haven't seen any facts that call the survey into question. Certainly nothing that indicates that Pew Research is faking the results. Most of the results match a trend that has been out there since well before the digital book market took off. If someone has quality data, I'm certainly willing to take a look. I'm not going to argue that surveys are completely accurate. There are lots of ways to get a poll or survey wrong. On the other hand, I would like to see some data rather than a simple "I don't want to believe it".

In other threads, I question some of the estimates from certain consulting firms on various trends of ebook sales, but I point to real data to back up my skepticism. Actual authors say that particular consulting firm is way off on the estimates that firm makes for their sales.
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Old 08-21-2019, 03:29 PM   #37
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I'm still not really sure what the surprising result is that makes people think the results are so obviously wrong they must be faked?

What the headline results say is that the percentage of people who read at all hasn't really changed, the %age of people who read eBooks grew significantly between 2011 and 2014, and hasn't really changed since (within the quoted margin of error of +/- 2.4%), and the percentage of people who listen to audiobooks was basically flat but has increased in the last few years.

Is that really shocking?
The period around 2011-2012 and on to 2014 saw the release of much cheaper, lighter (and lighted) Kindles (and other eReaders) and Kindles being able to borrow library books. Those things brought eBooks into the mainstream. That was revolution, since has been evolution.

They did ask how many books people had read in the last year, by the way.
The formatting doesn't copy across from the report well, but for the last survey the results were:
NONE / 1 BOOK / 2-3 BOOKS / 4-5 BOOKS / 6-10 BOOKS / 11-20 BOOKS / MORE THAN 20 BOOKS / DON’T KNOW / REFUSED
24 / 5 / 15 / 12 / 16 / 12 / 14 / 2 / 1
https://www.pewresearch.org/wp-conte...ds-Topline.pdf

And the social breakdowns say that you are more likely to read eBooks if you are young, educated and/or well off. Again, is any of that surprising?

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Old 08-21-2019, 04:28 PM   #38
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I'm still not really sure what the surprising result is that makes people think the results are so obviously wrong they must be faked?

What the headline results say is that the percentage of people who read at all hasn't really changed, the %age of people who read eBooks grew significantly between 2011 and 2014, and hasn't really changed since (within the quoted margin of error of +/- 2.4%), and the percentage of people who listen to audiobooks was basically flat but has increased in the last few years.

Is that really shocking?
The period around 2011-2012 and on to 2014 saw the release of much cheaper, lighter (and lighted) Kindles (and other eReaders) and Kindles being able to borrow library books. Those things brought eBooks into the mainstream. That was revolution, since has been evolution.

They did ask how many books people had read in the last year, by the way.
The formatting doesn't copy across from the report well, but for the last survey the results were:
NONE / 1 BOOK / 2-3 BOOKS / 4-5 BOOKS / 6-10 BOOKS / 11-20 BOOKS / MORE THAN 20 BOOKS / DON’T KNOW / REFUSED
24 / 5 / 15 / 12 / 16 / 12 / 14 / 2 / 1
https://www.pewresearch.org/wp-conte...ds-Topline.pdf

And the social breakdowns say that you are more likely to read eBooks if you are young, educated and/or well off. Again, is any of that surprising?
If I'm reading that correct, roughly a quarter of the respondents have read 10 or more books in the last year.

There are a few things that implies to me. First, remember we are talking about people who read books, not people who read. I suspect that there are a lot more people who read magazines, newspapers or the internet than read books.

The second thing is that I suspect the reaction to that particular survey is a product of the bubble effect. By that I mean that many of us tend to read a lot, know people who read a lot and just assume that most people are like us. That may not be an accurate assumption. I have to remind myself of that when I start wondering why the ebook stores haven't really improved in the directions that I think they should.

Last, I wonder who exactly is the customer of the average mid tier author. Are they mostly big readers, or do they pull in some of those occasional reader? I get the impression that mid tier authors tend to depend on fans a lot more than the best seller types. I also wonder a lot about what percentage of actual book sales are the big best seller and what percentage is spread out among the rest. Certainly we know that the book market is driven by the best seller, but it really would be interesting to see the actually break out.
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Old 08-21-2019, 08:14 PM   #39
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They did ask how many books people had read in the last year, by the way.
The formatting doesn't copy across from the report well, but for the last survey the results were:
NONE / 1 BOOK / 2-3 BOOKS / 4-5 BOOKS / 6-10 BOOKS / 11-20 BOOKS / MORE THAN 20 BOOKS / DON’T KNOW / REFUSED
24 / 5 / 15 / 12 / 16 / 12 / 14 / 2 / 1
https://www.pewresearch.org/wp-conte...ds-Topline.pdf
It is not about faking the results, but rather which data they release. Here is a theory: the more books you read, the higher the chance to read ebooks. If this is true, Pew could probably show that. 7% read digital only. 14% read more than 20 books per year. My oracle tells me that 80% of those that read digital only also belong to the group that reads 20+ books. Pew has the raw information to back my oracle up. Also the opposite. I want them to show, if true, that the overwhelming majority of the pbook only readers is casual (less than 6 books per year).

I say again. My theory is that you are more likely to read a higher percentage ebooks compared to pbooks the more books you read per year.

And please don't tell me that is obvious. If it was that obvious, why doesn't Pew back that up. Or even mention it in passing.
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Old 08-21-2019, 09:14 PM   #40
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It is not about faking the results, but rather which data they release. Here is a theory: the more books you read, the higher the chance to read ebooks. If this is true, Pew could probably show that. 7% read digital only. 14% read more than 20 books per year. My oracle tells me that 80% of those that read digital only also belong to the group that reads 20+ books. Pew has the raw information to back my oracle up. Also the opposite. I want them to show, if true, that the overwhelming majority of the pbook only readers is casual (less than 6 books per year).

I say again. My theory is that you are more likely to read a higher percentage ebooks compared to pbooks the more books you read per year.

And please don't tell me that is obvious. If it was that obvious, why doesn't Pew back that up. Or even mention it in passing.
So, why exactly do you think that Pew is suppressing that information? I think that it's just as likely that Pew simply added the questions on digital media to a survey that they had been running for a number of years. I ask a question about the break out of best seller books verses mid tier books, but I'm not assume a vast conspiracy of people trying to hide that information.

I already speculated that people who don't buy as many books aren't as likely to buy ebooks, so I'm not disagreeing with you, but if you also look at the revenue and sales reports by the various publishers, they indicate that the percentage of revenue and sales of ebooks verses paper closely matches the percentage of ebooks verses paper in the Pew report, so perhaps a small percentage of people buying a lot of books per person doesn't move the needle all that much.
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Old 08-22-2019, 04:14 AM   #41
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I already speculated that people who don't buy as many books aren't as likely to buy ebooks, so I'm not disagreeing with you, but if you also look at the revenue and sales reports by the various publishers, they indicate that the percentage of revenue and sales of ebooks verses paper closely matches the percentage of ebooks verses paper in the Pew report, so perhaps a small percentage of people buying a lot of books per person doesn't move the needle all that much.
That is exactly what I am trying to find out. Do the 14% move the needle enough to make a statistical significant impact. To once and for all end the debate whether Indies do account for a hell lot more ebooks being consumed and or bought versus traditional publishers. Right now, as you say, the Indies are completely hidden. We simply don't have reliable information. All can be explained purely by the split of ebooks versus pbooks. The 22/78 split of the ebook/pbook from the publishers (for simplicity's sake assume the 22/78 split also applies unit wise, not just revenue wise) and the split in reading a lot/reading much less coincides. What if it doesn't? Reading habits don't follow traditional statistical models. There is no bell curve you can stick anywhere, not with the mean and median this far apart. Maybe it closer resembles some exponential function. The last category of 20+ books per year is a catchall for non-casual readers. If you make an effort to read all year around, then reaching 20 books per year is not hard, even with the busiest schedule.

Now what if the split in books being read is 50/50 ebook/pbook? Those numbers won't correlate to the publisher data anymore. The extra ebooks have to come from somewhere. That would roughly account for 5 Indie ebooks for each 2 BPH ebooks. Or 1 Indie ebook for 2 BPH books (ebook and pbook combined). That is a whole lot of Indie books.

The problem is, if it is true, and I suspect it is, then it doesn't look too good for the BPH. The real danger isn't whether ebooks are more popular than pbooks, but whose ebooks are more popular among non-casual readers. You cannot change the casual readers, but are they enough to sustain the BPH?

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Old 08-22-2019, 05:19 AM   #42
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Reading habits don't follow traditional statistical models. There is no bell curve you can stick anywhere, not with the mean and median this far apart. Maybe it closer resembles some exponential function.
Whereas my hunch is that this is the case for most hobbies.
What if you asked people how many football games they had watched in the last year? Around 100 million Americans watch the Superbowl, around 15 million watch Thursday Night Football. A small number of people watch a huge number of games, a huge number of people watch a small number of games.
What about movies? Lots of people will watch one of two blockbusters a year, a small number will go every week.
I don't think there is anything particularly special about books that make then harder to reason about than the other examples. Yes, they don't follow a bell curve, but neither do the other examples.

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Old 08-22-2019, 05:48 AM   #43
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Whereas my hunch is that this is the case for most hobbies.
What if you asked people how many football games they had watched in the last year? Around 100 million Americans watch the Superbowl, around 15 million watch Thursday Night Football. A small number of people watch a huge number of games, a huge number of people watch a small number of games.
What about movies? Lots of people will watch one of two blockbusters a year, a small number will go every week.
I don't think there is anything particularly special about books that make then harder to reason about than the other examples. Yes, they don't follow a bell curve, but neither do the other examples.
Traditional cable is declining, maybe perhaps deteriorating. The difference there is that the providers seen reason and changed their modus operandi. Sling is owned by Dish. While I would not touch traditional Dish, I have no problems with paying for Sling. Movies and TV shows cannot be done without significant financial investment. Netflix originals or Amazon originals are just as good quality wise than what is on scheduled programming. The cost of entry to write a book is a lot lower. And it appears that publishers are stuck in the old ways. Unable or unwilling to adopt to changing expectations of their audience.
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:39 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by DuckieTigger View Post
Traditional cable is declining, maybe perhaps deteriorating. The difference there is that the providers seen reason and changed their modus operandi. Sling is owned by Dish. While I would not touch traditional Dish, I have no problems with paying for Sling. Movies and TV shows cannot be done without significant financial investment. Netflix originals or Amazon originals are just as good quality wise than what is on scheduled programming. The cost of entry to write a book is a lot lower. And it appears that publishers are stuck in the old ways. Unable or unwilling to adopt to changing expectations of their audience.
No maybe about cable.
Their decline is accelerating.

Customer loses are... not insignificant...

https://www.cordcuttersnews.com/att-...-every-minute/

AT&T and Comcast lost a million paying customers just last quarter.

Their response is to raise price yet again (they have to cover costs) and to float the zombie meme that switching to streaming doesn't save money because it can cost more than cable when you subscribe to all the services.

Sounds familiar, right?
Charge more and raise fake narratives.

Never mind that nobody subscribes to everything at once: the name of tbe game is rotation. Or churn, as the industry puts it.

There is a limit to available eyeball hours and if you're binging an eight year long australian family-friendly drama/soap, you won't have time to watch HBO that month so you toggle that off until you're done.

And the same applies to cable or reading.
Heavy bingers won't have time to watch "appointment" TV or, as its now called, linear TV. Or read, given all the good to great entertainment available online, cheap or lightly ad-supported.

And the boot that is the entire Disney/Fox library has yet to fall.

https://preview.disneyplus.com

The Fox content is headed to Hulu, btw. Both Disney+ and ESPN+ will be available separately or bundled with Hulu for $13.

So yeah, cable is hurting and running scared.
But so is everybody fighting for eyeball-hour money.

The "worst" is yet to come.
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Old 08-22-2019, 09:04 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieTigger View Post
Traditional cable is declining, maybe perhaps deteriorating. The difference there is that the providers seen reason and changed their modus operandi. Sling is owned by Dish. While I would not touch traditional Dish, I have no problems with paying for Sling. Movies and TV shows cannot be done without significant financial investment. Netflix originals or Amazon originals are just as good quality wise than what is on scheduled programming. The cost of entry to write a book is a lot lower. And it appears that publishers are stuck in the old ways. Unable or unwilling to adopt to changing expectations of their audience.
And yet, Netflix is also shedding customers. Apparently, their original shows don't move the needle much as other content starts to disappear from their catalogue. The two most streamed shows at Netflix in 2019 were The Office and Friends. The most streamed original Netflix show was Orange is the New Black which 7th on the popularity list and streamed around a third as much as The Office.

https://www.adweek.com/tv-video/the-...ows-last-year/

So maybe that's not as good of an example as you think. The streaming services got into the groupthink of "new content" when really, the services that have the deepest catalogue of old shows appear to have the leg up. Netflix has the problem that they have no catalogue of old shows and now the companies that own the old shows that are currently on Netflix is starting to pull them to show them exclusively on their own streaming services. It's going to be very interesting to see what happens when Disney which has a huge catalogue from Disney as well as ABC, ESPN and 20th Century Fox, starts their streaming service in November. As I have pointed out with regard to eBook stores, content is king.

As far as the Indie verses traditional publisher debate with regards to ebooks, as that link that I posted about HarperCollins financials show, backlist books are a growing part of the financial picture. The changing dynamic of online purchases and digital books makes it much easier to keep backlist books in print. It would certainly be interesting to see what the actual figures are, both from a total sales point of view as well as from a revenue point of view, but I doubt either publishers or Amazon will release those sort of figures anytime soon just to satisfy our curiosity.

As I mentioned before, we are watching the market place change with regards to print books, eBooks and audiobooks. Authors are experimenting with graphic versions of their books. We see experiments with monthly streaming services of eBooks. I'm sure we will see such experiments with audiobooks as well. We are seeing new small publishers which seem to be starting as associations of psuedo-indies. It reminds me a lot of the mini labels that one sees in the music industry. I have no doubt that things will look different in five years and things continue to develop.
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