The European Commission published on 28 August a survey on access to works online and portability of content in the European Union. The findings of the survey, for which more than 26,000 people across Europe have been interviewed, are a clear indication that solutions developed to give access to works online do meet users’ needs when they are interested in having access to such content.
For the text and image sector, we see that e-books are the least accessed or downloaded type of content (73% of respondents have never done it, including 62% of younger respondents). At the same time, when looking at the type of access (whether it was paid or free), e-books are the content that the more people have paid for in order to access it, and the least in terms of free access or downloading; and a majority of respondents prefer to purchase each e-book that they want (39%) rather than to pay an online subscription (8%).
A preliminary conclusion seems to be that the e-book market is developed enough to provide solutions that fit users’ needs who are therefore more willing to pay; and that most people still prefer to read printed books, which is confirmed in the survey by the two main reasons given for not having accessed or downloaded content: respondents said that they are not interested in such content (63%) and they prefer to access it through other ways such as books (43%).
Other interesting figures show that 72% of respondents said that they have always or often managed to find online the e-books that they were looking for; that three quarters of respondents have never tried to use a paid subscription in another Member State; and that only 1% of respondents have tried to access/download e-books from a website meant for users in another EU Member State. Here again, we see that the reasons for not trying to access such content is that users are not interested in the type of content (54%) and have sufficient choice in their country (51%).
Find the survey here.