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Research seminar presentation


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Project presentation at Research Seminar, University of Borås, Sweden, 24 November, 2017. Deals with the views of authors, publishers, booksellers, academic librarians, public librarians, and readers on the e-book market in Sweden.

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Research seminar presentation

  1. 1. Books on screens In the order of appearance: Lars Höglund, Kersti Nilsson, Elena Maceviciute, Birgitta Wallin, Tom Wilson, Annika Bergström
  2. 2. The project explores production, distribution and use of e-books: • Swedish authors and book publishers (the production part of the system) to establish their perception of the present status and future of the e-book; • the distribution part of the system, Swedish book-sellers, aggregators and libraries, and their roles in the e-book distribution chain and their changing functions. • The change of these functions as well as perceptions of their roles in the future by themselves and the governing bodies will have a crucial influence on shaping the media landscape in Sweden; • Policy and legal aspects related to e-books; and • The use and consumption of e-books. This part includes studies of individual end-users of e-books and also studies the changing behaviour of the reading public in Sweden.
  3. 3. The case of the e-book in “small language” culture: media, technology and the digital society • The project group: 6 people with earlier collaboration between some individuals and between the universities in Borås and Gothenburg. • The Science council program on digitization and society was launched 2012. Grant nov 2012. Digitization had reached the book, it was still in an early stage here but seemed to expand quickly. • The project idea: To study the early development of e-book adoption considering the main types of actors from authors to publishers, libraries booksellers and readers in a small language area like Sweden. • Data collection and publishing 2012-2016 Surveys, interviews, focus groups. Articles and conference presentations. • The book is a comprehensive, partly popular, summary, Nov 2017
  4. 4. You can visit the following for more information: • A blog “The e-book research project: • Flipboard magazine “News on e-books”: • (see the links on p. 16 of the book)
  5. 5. Early expectations and rapid growth of free e-book lending through public libraries 0 450000 900000 1350000 1800000 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Official statistics on e-book lending in public libraries 2002-2014
  6. 6. Actors and interactions in the e-book field .
  7. 7. Swedish authors and e-books • Authors with a publisher: • Bestsellers • Mainstream • Elite • Authors without a publisher: • Wannabes • Authors who had published e-books as part of the agreement with a publisher (17) • Authors with experience of having self-published e-books (5) • Authors who had not yet published e- books (4)
  8. 8. Authors’ attitudes toward the e-book • Mainly positive: “ Dissemination is important, and this is one of the ways.” • Audio-books are much more important in dissemination as well as for income. • Stock-keeping of printed books will be replaced by e-books: Prolongs the life of the book . • Little interest in the enhanced e-book.
  9. 9. Experiences of e-books • Not all books become e-books; it´s the publisher´s decision: . High-quality literature, with, usually, a small audience is not generally converted into e- books: I have negotiated on a new book this year with a large company. They have kept the rights to the e-book but let the audio-book go… before they know about the reception, they don’t lift a finger to make it an e-book. They only do it with bestsellers.’
  10. 10. Authors on dissemination of e-books • High costs for libraries but only a symbolic sum from library lending to the authors. Fears: a risk that the libraries only buy the e-book. • International markets through literary agents of interest and importance to best-selling authors.
  11. 11. Experiences of self-publishing • Pilot-project to explore the process in every detail • Self-publisher as an entrepreneur in e-book production • Self-publishing with an entrepreneur Satisfaction: Full control of distribution and dissemination, selling and downloading. Not satisfactory: Takes too much time from writing.
  12. 12. Reading e-books • Authors are generally professional leisure-readers. Ten out of 26 were frequent e-book readers. Eleven had no experience at all. • Some authors are professional leisure-readers and professional ciritics: • When you read an e-book, you do it faster, skimming, and jumping bluntly… Reading extensive novels in print or in e-format is very different. It is a different sensuous feeling having the book in your hand, knowing where you are in it. There is a tiny, underlying dramaturgic twist for the reader, which you catch with your hands in the book and you know when you’ve come to the middle because you can feel it in your body. This is not appearing with the e-book.
  13. 13. The future of the e-book • The e-book is here to stay, but mainly as a complement to the printed book, along with the audio-book. • The market share will expand if the prices are reduced. • Big actors will continue to expand on the market. This might be a problem to small language markets. • Polarisation on the market with reduced space for good quality mainstream literature. Fears of publishers´ demands on fast publishing.
  14. 14. World of Swedish publishers • PUBLISHERS, publishers and publishers • Will for stability and wish for change • Seeking profit and ensuring the future • Self-confident but cautious • Heterogeneity of attitudes among publishers • Two-edged influencing factors (buyers, technology, language, economics) • Relations with the distribution chain – retailers, aggregators, public libraries
  15. 15. E-books in the world of publishers: Suppression of radical potential • Publishers’ preference for printed books • High cultural and economic value of hardcover books • High prices for e-books • Lack of marketing for e-books • Passive waiting for the breakthrough of e-books • Market size and low demand • Technological uncertainty
  16. 16. E-books in the world of publishers: Supervening social necessity: • Increasing mass and production of digital titles • Sporadic efforts to push e-book development (publishers, retailers, public libraries, subscription services) • New business models for e-books and public libraries • Changing legal status of e-books through reduced VAT rates and court decisions • Cultural policy in Sweden
  17. 17. Changing landscape of e-book distribution through public and commercial channels • ”Our position as intermediary serving publishers, retailers and libraries is changing. The positions are moving. Publishers are moving forward in the chain and want to deliver directly to retailers and want to leave us out. In the same way others are moving backwards in the chain and want to talk directly to the publishers.” (large aggregator) • ”Libraries lending out e-books for free is a fine service to society but for us who have commercial interests in e-books, it hits our business model really hard if it is too easy to borrow the books for free. It is not the same with print books as it requires the reader to go to the library to get the book while e-books are just a pressed button away. It is just as easy to borrow a digital book as it is to buy a digital book online.” (Online bookseller)
  18. 18. Changing landscape of e-book distribution through public and commercial channels • ”We don’t understand the publishers. We can see that the libraries will be their only marketplace in the future, that they will have any sort of control over. And it is a blessing for publishers that libraries exist, that’s how we regard libraries.” (Small aggregator) • ”We consider it as a problem that we cannot market e-books any more than we do as it would bust our budget.” (Public library) • ”We lose e-book users to the commercial suppliers. It is inexpensive and easy today. Maybe the libraries have bit their own tail by its ‘principle of free’ in this case. It is evident that library users are prepared to pay a small sum for a good service.” (Public library)
  19. 19. Swedish academic libraries and the international e-book market • The Swedish academic e-book market is virtually non-existent: academic libraries in Sweden are part of the international market, using the same aggregators and publishers as in other parts of the world. • Consequently, the resources are mainly English-language research materials, and there is a dearth of Swedish language resources. • The main provider of textbooks, Studentliteratur, appears to have little interest in producing e-books, it has only three or four available on its Web site
  20. 20. • A small number of academic libraries use other international suppliers for books in specific languages of interest to them, e.g., the Italian company Casalini for books in Italian. • All of this means that there is a great proliferation of suppliers, each with their own platform, which is probably the main problem faced by the libraries and, specifically, by the library users. • The libraries reported using up to thirty-nine different suppliers, with ten reporting the use of twenty or more. Swedish academic libraries and the international e-book market
  21. 21. • In the resurgence of the university presses in Sweden, a leading role is being played by the academic library in some cases. The market for the scholarly monograph has never been large and e-publication is increasingly seen as a viable alternative to print. • One response to this is the establishment of Kriterium - a collaboration between the universities of Gothenburg, Lund and Uppsala, and with the involvement of the Swedish Research Council, the National Library, and other participants. Swedish academic libraries and the international e-book market
  22. 22. • In Winston’s terms, the two main elements of the supervening social necessity, are the potential e-books offer for ready access and availability, and the technological imperative - the need for libraries to keep abreast of developing information technologies. • The suppression of radical potential is experienced in the restrictions providers place on the use of e-books (for example, pages that may copied, lack of availability for inter-library loan). Also, the lack of a common platform for access is seen as inhibiting the fuller use of the resources Swedish academic libraries and the international e-book market
  23. 23. Readers of e-books: what is so special about Sweden • What are the reading habits for e-books in the population? • Who are the readers of e-books in Sweden? • How is e-book reading related to print book reading and other digital reading habits? • How can we illuminate the sometimes complex relationships between attitudes and behaviour regarding e-books?
  24. 24. Data on e-book reading • National representative survey 2012-2017 • Interviews and focus groups 2015-2016
  25. 25. In what ways are e-books desired? • The e-book format makes foreign literature easily available and immediately accessible. • The possibility of borrowing books without having to visit the library. • Lower weight than a pile of printed books.
  26. 26. E-book reading: total, fiction and non-fiction (per cent at least once the last 12 months) 9 11 18 17 18 6 8 13 12 13 5 6 12 10 12 0 9 18 26 35 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Any e-book last 12 month E-book fiction E-book non-fiction
  27. 27. E-book reading in different groups (per cent at least once the last 12 months)
  28. 28. Contribution of e-books to book reading, 2016 (total per cent, n=1 512) Printed book At least once the last 12 months No time during the year E-book At least once the last 12 months 18 0 No time during the year 68 14
  29. 29. Attitudes to e-books (2013, mean and Mean (0-10) Std E-books can never replace the feeling of the pages of a printed book 7.24 3.21 To read e-books are as yet too complicated 4.96 3.56 The e-book format is best suited for shorter books 5.34 3.43 The ability to read e-books means that I buy / borrow fewer printed books 3.89 3.81
  30. 30. Different functions of printed books and e-books (2014, per cent) 34 22 23 15 6 1 0 25 50 75 100 Being able to get a book quickly Having a wide selection of books to choose from Reading books while traveling of commuting Sharing books with other people Reading books in bed Reading with a child Printed books E-books No opinion
  31. 31. E-book reading – a multi factor understanding (std. Beta coefficients) Variable Std. beta Sex 0.04 Age -0.05 Level of education 0.07* Household income -0.06* Tablet access 0.04 Reading printed books 0.17*** Library visits 0.17*** Online library visits 0.02 Functions of printed and e-books 0.28*** R2 0.18 n= 1,202
  32. 32. Thank you all and also thanks to The Swedish Research Council, Nordicom, University of Borås, COST E-READ network, The SOM Institute, University of Gothenburg, our respondents, cooperating researchers and students