Kiwi interest in ebooks has jumped by 32 pct in 2023 - report

PriceSpy says New Zealanders' interest in ebook readers has increased by 32 percent year-on-year in 2023.
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New Zealanders' interest in ebook readers has jumped by almost a third this year, according to a new report.

Data released by price and product comparison site PriceSpy shows a 32 percent year-on-year increase in searches for ebook readers in 2023 compared to 2022.

The increase has been put down to their relatively cheap price-point and being a high-value purchase at a time where Kiwis are facing increased costs.

Although ebook sales have gone up and down in recent years, there is an international overall upward trend.

According to market and consumer data website Statista, global ebook revenue is looking to jump from US$13.64 billion in 2022 to US$14.21 billion in 2023. It's projected to hit US$15.39 billion in 2027.

While digital versions of books can be read on many devices, ebooks cost substantially less than other options. 

PriceSpy NZ's average weighted price for ebook readers in 2023 is $318. Meanwhile, the average weighted price for tablets like iPads is $1083. 

The website found interest in tablets has only jumped 0.5 percent year-on-year in 2023 - significantly less than ebook readers.

"We can see there's been a significant uptick in the number of Kiwis that are looking to buy ebook readers this year, suggesting that people may be turning to low-cost activities like reading a good book to keep them busy and entertained," said Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett, NZ country manager for PriceSpy.

"As consumers navigate the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, consumer purchase behaviours continue to change to accommodate higher grocery and fuel costs, mortgage rate rises and other price increases being passed back on to them.

"As such, rather than buy expensive devices like tablets, consumers may be making entertainment cutbacks, considering e-book readers instead. While e-book readers do not offer the same capabilities as a tablet, people may be more willing to invest in affordable book e-readers to help keep them busy and entertained.

"Even though there's an initial outlay of a couple of hundred dollars to buy an e-book reader, the long-term investment can be quite affordable. For example, some digital books are free to download or cost a couple of dollars to purchase - and there are even subscription options available to provide instant access to thousands upon thousands of titles."