They say they have not been surprised by the result. But in shaping the robot portrait of the digital reader, it has been almost voracious. Who has become accustomed to reading from an electronic device – smart phone, above all – enjoys 20 books a year. Almost twice as much as paper: 11.6, according to the last barometer of habits and reading of the Federation of Editors published last January. A joint study of six digital platforms –24Symbols, Kobo, Leemur, Lektu, Nubico Y Storytel– has now shared data and that, among others, has been the result in Spain.
In addition, the readers outperform the readers (57% vs. 43%). They are young, between 25 and 45 years old, and live mainly in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Malaga, Zaragoza and Bilbao. The favorite stations to enjoy the downloads are spring and summer. On weekends, Saturdays and Sundays, they usually track searches and reading occurs mostly from Monday to Thursday. Where? On the outward and return journeys from home to work and after 10 pm. The favorite genres: romantic and erotic novel. Stories of black series, police and thriller, children's and youth literature. In nonfiction, self-help and personal development.
"The highest consumption of ebooks and audiobooks is given by the marketing model. They invite you to read beyond the usual comfort area. By paying in advance (between 8.99 euros and 12.99 euros in Spain) these platforms encourage readers to discover other possible reading affinities by entering subjects, authors and publishers that they would never have selected in a bookstore. In other words: they push to read more, "he says. Javier Celaya, director of Dosdoce.com, where the study has been published and responsible for Storytel in Spain and Latin America.
David Fernández, CEO of Lektu, reinforces this theory: "It's normal. It is very common that the transition from paper to digital is done for economic reasons. The prices are more reduced, you can access infinite news and avoid the lack of physical space and storage. In addition, it is easier to access the product with the download and its immediate use. It has not surprised us. These are totally coherent conclusions and do not reflect the fact that digital reading is fully implemented in our society ".
If we break down the study by areas, some do admit surprises while destroying assumptions. Ángel María Herrera, from Lemur, emphasizes the preference of young people. "What I like most about the studio is the high degree of reading among that generation that, we supposed, did not read." Another thing is that despised habits and genres chosen. "They simply do it in different formats and choose other content. In our platform we have verified that we have a large percentage of readers between 14 and 21 years, a range in which reading reports tend to show lower ratios. We had to find what they were looking for and facilitate it. "
Joan Chaler, from Nubico, points out that data varies within the digital domain if it is about stores on-line or subscriptions, as is your case. In this field, it provides some encouraging figures for the sector. "During 2018, more than 4.5 million hours of reading have been consumed. 30% higher compared to the previous exercise ". It even offers us the day where the highest peak of the whole year is reached: August 15.
If the book business wants to have a future, it must use digital to increase the number of readers.
David Sánchez (24Symbols)
No doubt. The digital reader exercises the so-called vice without punishment even more compulsively. Silvia Clemares, from Rakuten Kobo, believes it: "They do it with assiduity and passionately." They have perfectly fitted into the comforts of the stand. "You can access your readings or start them at any time and anywhere. In addition, the digital environment allows that when a book is finished, the next reading can be accessed immediately. They allow to enlarge the size of the letter, take them on a trip (they weigh from 166 grams), read outdoors because they are resistant to water and have protection against dust and sand … And when you can not read because you are relaxed or doing other things with your hands, you always have the audiobook to tell you. "
Accessibility, especially for people who have physical difficulties, increases. It is something that also aims Elisa Yuste, independent analyst and coordinator of the study for Dosdoce.com. But it adds more: the transparency that in the new publishing world implies this study. "We hope that this first look is not the last, but that it represents a milestone in the making of reports like this at a time when no one can deny that we read digitally. And that contributes to that, in other more generalist reports, this reality is also kept in mind ". Yuste emphasizes that the fact of sharing data between competitors sanitizes the vision. "The opacity of the sector in our country is not a secret. But, little by little, we are building this kind of profitable practices. "
More, in a framework where it is useless to deny the change of paradigms, according to David Sánchez, responsible for 24Symbols: "If the book business wants to have a future, it must use digital as a field of work to increase the number of readers. This is achieved by building quality services that compete for their time in front of the devices we all carry. What many are doing, idealizing the channel of distribution and the traditional support of the book to the point of absurdity, does not serve hardly at all ".
The distrust of the digital book sector survives, but the balance begins to turn in favor. According to digital platforms, 35% of the news published in the media are positive compared to 32% who do not see it with the best eyes. Some sinned as prophets when they assured that 2018 would mark the end of the role. Reality has put in its place certain harmful campaigns and now faces the inevitable coexistence. According to Javier Celaya, director of Dosdoce.com, "among the most frequent concepts and terms in the news that convey a kind message are those related to the growth of the billing that has been registered, the boom of the digital loan linked to libraries and audiobooks as an expanding format. " On the other hand, in the negative, piracy, stagnation in sales, its high price, its intangible format and the high VAT applied of 21% in comparison with the 4% corresponding to paper books.