Chiang-nan Chao F. Victor Lu St. John's University, USA

This research focuses on comparing the different perceptions between ebooks and printed books, as the ebooks are now emerging in the publishing market. This study, through an empirical survey to examine from the consumers ' standpoints, focuses on a range of managerial issues about ebook adoptions. These managerial issues are both strategic and technical, as well as both environmental and personal. Our study finds ebooks have significant advantages in many aspects over the printed books. Although ebook adoption is growing rapidly, in some ways, it still lacks some of the advantages existed in printed books, e.g. there are many different and incompatible platforms for the usage of ebooks, and the consumers do not need to have the concern of copyright for printed books. The findings of this preliminary study suggest that publishers may need to more aggressively promote ebooks as it is a way to preserve our environment. Keywords: ebooks, digital books, printed books vs electronic books

INTRODUCTION The printed books have been around for thousands of years since the Chinese first invented paper that was made of mostly from linen and straw. The paper industry relies on trees for its product, and it was reported that primary forest area was reduced globally by 60,000 square kilometers per year, about the size of Ireland (Source: http://www.greenfacts.org/en/forests/index.htm#2). The paper industry and other non-lumber products consumed 1.6 billion trees, or 43 percent of the total tree consumption globally (Source: http://understory.ran.org/2008/04/22/how-many-trees-are-cut-down-every-year/). On the contrary, the ebooks are emerging, from an almost zero ten years ago, to today's total sales of $441 million US$ in 2010, as more and more consumers shifting to ebooks. The data show that the total market share of ebooks is only 8.32% of the total sales of books. The emergence of ebooks is challenging the traditional way of publishing, however, ebooks make up just under 3 percent of textbook sales, although the share to grow to 10 percent to 15 percent by 2012 as more titles are made available as ebooks, and the market share of ebooks in comparison to the overall printed books, including newspapers and magazines is only slightly above 5% (Foderaro, 2010; Wilhelm, 2010). The academic research in this area is still quite limited due to this emerging nature of ebooks. This study, in an empirical setting, examines from the book readers' points of views and their preferences, in order to provide some managerial insights of this ebook market: what consumers prefer and how they make purchasing decisions. The focus is mainly on the ebooks and digital publishing related issues. This study attempted through an empirical exploration to investigate if there were any differences resulted from the consumers' viewpoints between ebooks and printed books, with major focuses on products and their qualities, price (including promotions), deliveries and
International Journal of Business, Marketing, and Decision Sciences Volume 4, Number 1, Spring 2011 117

the traditional printed publishing industry is facing an emerging challenge from digital publishing. either professors or students. and Decision Sciences Volume 4. even though the digital publishing represents only a small fraction of the total publishing industry's sales at the moment. REVIEW OF LITERATURE In the recent years. Figure 2 ebooks Market Shares. However.publishers. have experienced a sharp decline recently. on book readers and their reading behavior. Spring 2011 . Figure 1 documents the emerging sales of ebooks in the U. Marketing. quite resembling the competition between filmed cameras and digital cameras. of US$ SîOO $450 zooz Z003 2004 Z007 2008 2009 ZOIO Source:http://www. newspapers. Number I.S. Figure2 presents the ebooks' market share in the nine years.e. some of the printed publishing. Figure 1 ebooks Sales. The study hoped to find.publishers.htm.org/main/PressCenter/Archicves/2011 Feb/DecemberStats PressRelease.org/main/PressCenter/Archicves/2011_Feb/DecemberStatsP ressRelease. i. if any.usability. on our society and environment. 118 Intemational Joumal of Business. in Mil.htm. % 2003 2004 200^ 2009 2010 Source:http://www. the impacts of the emerging ebooks on the publishing industry.

Amazon's Kindles. Some restrictions on the use of ebooks are likely to remain a fact of life for some time to come.99 for those books. However. to specially manufactured ebook readers. Vance. 2009). Amazon is years ahead of Apple in building relations with the publishing industry.000 titles from five of the largest publishing houses. Trachtenberg. 2011). but a new pricing model that is emerging could improve Amazon's profit margin on ebooks for any e-readers. which the company says isn't new. Amazon now offers more than 450. org/docl ibrary/industrystats. some potential ebook customers shy away from jumping on the band wagons of ebooks. Number 1. Many publishers are concemed about incompatibility of these gadgets. Figure 2 documents the decline during AprilSeptember 2009 of some major newspapers in the U. This pricing model guarantees a profit on every sale. Fowler & Trachtenberg. Figure 1 presents the e-publishing sales from 2002 to 2009 (Source: http : //www. since it paid more than $9. htm). Amazon's previous policy of discounting new ebook best sellers at $9. there is no single technology standard for ebooks. some of the printed publishing. which will be handled by the iTunes billing system. et al. with retailers such as Amazon and Apple taking 30% of the revenue. netbooks and laptops. and Decision Sciences Volume 4. Lewin. and book retailers disagree with one another so it is difficult to develop new business models for profit/cost sharing. even though the front mnners like Amazon tend to dominate in the nascent market. Marketing. A new approach proposed by Apple intends to let every player in the distribution channel to collect a fee or commission. Cheekier. While the revenues in e-publishing are growing rapidly. iPod touch. 2010. was cited in Apple's rejection of a Sony Corp. and desktop computers. and the stores generated over $1. such as iTunes. Amazon has tussled with publishers recently over ebook prices. International Journal of Business.e. To make the situation more complicated.8 million free out-of-copyright titles. Trachtenberg. The policy. opene-book. the total sales amount is still far below that of printed publications. Kane. 2009. As far as the selection of digital gadgets. Dominant players often pressure others to go along with their terms. just like with printed books which have a variety of type settings. Spring 2011 119 .1 billion in eighteen months to Febmary 2011. Apple's app stores enable the company to collect commission on every book or magazine sold. the digital publishing market needs both reading gadgets and ebooks. 2010. 2010. from tiny gadgets. etc. Apple is now requiring publishers that conduct sales of content—which includes books as well subscriptions—to offer a way to do so within apps. Bames and Noble's Nooks. and wonder that gadget will eventually become dominant. publishers. newspapers. for example. Publishers will set prices for many ebooks. et al. being one of the biggest print-book retailers in the nation. the problem with ebooks is that they come loaded with just many limits. Contrary to traditional printed publishing. (Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations. 2010. often digital gadget makers. Samsung's Galaxy.S. 2009. 2009. have experienced a sharp decline recently. app for reading ebooks earlier this week (Kane. Ebooks bought today from Amazon. What's more. i. Blackberry. The dominant operating systems are currently either Apple's or Android of Google. and iPhones. Sony's eReaders. Ovide.000 ebooks. On the other hand. i. Some developers believe that there is a limit to people's appetite for new digital media. to generic tablets like Apple's iPad and iPad2. Apple has said it will start with 60. consumers have quite a number to choose from. 2011). For many people.e. Because of this. 2011. since it will have profound impacts if they select wrong formats.com. can be read mostly on Amazon's Kindle. There are no universal standards for the ebooks.99 typically resulted in losses. with Apple's system is in a dominant position (Wamer. and has access to more than 1.Amazon's sales information provides a glimpse of the electronic book market and the Intemational Digital Publishing Fomm (IDPF) provides more detailed information about epublishing.

deliveries. A survey was developed to investigate the issues related to the subject of this study. easy to obtain 2. 9. However. but the screens won't go blank. compatibility in the formats 11. has stepped onto the nascent digital-book battleground with Amazon.000 titles. iPad. free delivery or delivery incentives 10. Number 1. magazines. easiness to carry around 6. and Sony Corp.000 public domain books from Google Inc. 2010. easy to read 4. nor would they be transacted virus. need of special reading instruments. saying it would launch its own ebookstore with bestsellers priced at $9. they republish old titles by bigname authors.. the books include all books. low cost of possession of the reading materials 3. price and promotion. this research studied the viewpoints of consumers with regards to how they view ebooks as compared to the traditional printed books. 2010. etc. However. These approaches further enable the demand growth of ebooks (Trachtenberg. eReader. It would offer more than 700..com's Kindle ebook reader. Marketing.'s iPhone and iPod Touch. and other related. and they have been around for thousands of years. Both book resellers and publishers want to provide their customers with an alternative of ebooks. they are heavy and expensive. Nooks. concern with copyright 120 International Journal of Business. in the consumer preferences on products and their quality. For example. newspapers. i. and that it expects to be able to offer more than one million titles by July 2010. In addition to bring about new titles in a digital format. and Kane. 2010). including more than 500.Barnes & Noble Inc. kindle. The following variables were based on literature reviews. Bilton. titles bought through Barnes & Noble's ebookstore are not compatible with Sony's Reader or Amazon. Fowler. Book formats supported by the new Barnes & Noble ebookstore include those that can be viewed on Apple Inc. Printed books and magazines on the other hand are in the low technology. the two dominant e-readers in the U. 2011). Galaxy.com Inc. the following variables affect how and where consumers make their purchase decisions: /. attractive prices for possessing contents 5. Trachtenberg. BlackBerry smartphones and most Windows and Mac computers. Variable Selection and Survey Questionnaire Stemmed from literature review.99. 2010). METHODOLOGY With the focal questions in mind.S. easy to share with others 8. college students pay $700 to $900 a semester in addition to the already high expenses in tuition and other fees (Foderaro. market (Rich & Stone. Spring 2011 .e. in line with its rivals. weights 7. and Decision Sciences Volume 4.

Marketing. Hypothesis 6. " between ebooks and printed books. There is no significant difference in "easiness to carry around" between ebooks and printed books. Since the data collected are of interval scaling.e. Data Collection. There is no significant difference in "easy to read" between ebooks and printed books. There is no significant difference in "easy to share with others" between ebooks and printed books. The questionnaire also included the background information of the respondents. There is no significant difference in "need of special reading instruments. Hypotheses and Test of Hypotheses The hypotheses for this research were to find if there were significant differences from the consumers' viewpoints between ebooks and printed books. Hypothesis 4. Nooks. International Journal of Business. The respondents were asked to evaluate the selected variables in a five point Likert scale. Hypothesis 3. There is no significant difference in "low cost of possession " of the reading materials between ebooks and printed books. the questionnaires were distributed to college students in a large university campus in the northeast for a convenient sampling since students tended to browse on the websites and download digital books. the Paired Sample /-Test was used to test the hypotheses. and Measurements Due to the exploratory nature of this empirical study. kindle. with 5=strong agree. There is no significant difference in "attractive prices for possessing contents " between ebooks and printed books. and Decision Sciences Volume 4. the respondents were asked to provide their opinions on the paired variables. Hypothesis 8. would provide some meaningful insights to the publishing industry and book readers. etc. There is no significant difference in "easy to obtain " between ebooks and printed books. Number 1. 4=agree. paired both in digital books and printed books. 3=neutral. Hypothesis 7. i. The hypotheses for this study state: Hypothesis 1. There is no significant difference in "weights " between ebooks and printed books. Sample. iPad. and l=strongly disagree. eReader. 2-disagree. Galaxy. therefore.These variables were served as cores in a survey questionnaire designed to collect the consumers' opinions. Hypothesis 2. Hypothesis 5. Spring 2011 121 .

3=36-55. Hypothesis 11. There is no significant difference in "concern with copyright" between ebooks and printed books. Hypothesis 10. with 135 completed responded for analyses. This procedure computes the difference between the two variables for each case. digital newspapers. five percent of the Paired Sample /-Test two-tailed probability level signifies the differences between preferences for ebooks vs.S. printed books (Hamburg. Marketing. Davis and Cosenza. and tests to see if the average difference is significantly different from zero. female=2 Female <$30k 3. There is no significant difference in "free delivery or delivery incentives" between ebooks and printed books. Wikipedia. Your highest education College graduate Total Valid % 1 98 1 61 39 20 15 25 40 12 80 8 100 122 International Journal of Business. family annual income? $30-50k $50-75k >$75k high school 4. in another word. male=l. Spring 2011 . 2=18-35. There is no significant difference in "compatibility in the formats" between ebooks and printed books. digital magazines. and gadgets of ereaders. and Decision Sciences Volume 4. there are significantly different preferences in these variables from the consumers' viewpoints between ebooks and printed books.org/wiki/Student's_Mest). Table 1 presents the general background information of the respondents. Conover.wikipedia. 1980. All the respondents had experience in downloading digital articles and/or books from websites.6 percent of the total surveyed. 2002. Age K18. Table 2 presents online activities related to ebooks. http://en. The nulls should be rejected if the significance level is less than or equal to five percent in these criteria. 1977. Altematively. The Paired Samples ^Test compares the means of two variables.. RESULTS 341 respondents were surveyed at a college campus in the eastem U. 1985. SPSS^. under the assumption of both variables should be normally distributed.Hypothesis 9. Number 1. Your gender. 4>55 18-35 >35 Male 2. Table 1 Backgrounds of the Respondents Groups Demographic issues <18 1. representing 39.

560 0. each week.083 low cost of possession of the reading materials 6. when the significance levels are less than 5% in the ten out of the total eleven variables. i. Yes 15 Nook. These variables are: easy to obtain. and 5-10 23 magazines. Newspapers and Magazines Response Valid % 6a. eReader.034 0.e. how many hours on average do you spend <5 45 on reading printed books.Table 2 Issues Related to Reading of ebooks.319 free delivery or delivery incentives 2. magazines. i.007 MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The Paired Sample i-Test results reject ten of the null hypotheses.000 0.653 Weights 2.015 0.* 0. and Decision Sciences Volume 4. have you ever read any book. how many hours on average do you spend <5 53 on reading digital forms of books. Sony's e-readers. iPad. newspapers. Spring 2011 123 . each week. Marketing.e. 2. iPad.230 attractive prices for possessing contents 2.473 compatibility in the formats 0. newspapers. including textbooks 11-15 12 16-20 7 >20 5 Table 3 presents the Pair Sample /-Test results.003 0. df 134 134 134 134 134 134 133 133 133 133 133 sig. Amazon's Kindle. Nooks. newspapers.022 0. Significant differences are found in ten of the eleven variables. Galaxy.252 easy to read -4. kindle.986 easiness to carry around 6. the study concludes that there are statistically significant differences from the consumers' viewpoints between ebooks and printed books. etc. do you have any e-readers.000 0. low cost of possession of the International Journal of Business.584 concem with copyright 2.730 * Significance level is 2-tailed.039 0. or any other brand? No 85 7a.000 0. Number 1. and Yes 90 magazines on computer or on any digital form? No 10 6b.000 0. Table 3 Paired Sample T-Test Results for All Variables Paired variables t easy to obtain 2. therefore. 5-10 37 including textbooks 11-15 12 16-20 2 >20 4 7b.145 easy to share with others 5.031 need of special reading instruments.

or rather than generic tablet computers? Some of the respondents commented consumers might not need to spend much money on buying specially designed digital reading gadgets. Since this research.wikipedia. as there is no statistically significance between ebooks and printed books. 124 International Journal of Business. Publishers. vs 5" of other eReaders. but also it helps make our environment greener. More in depth research work is needed in the future. to continuously focus on promoting and improving ebooks in these areas. concern with copyright. This may suggest to the publishing industry. attractive prices for possessing contents. free delivery or delivery incentives.e. the Wall Street Joumal. This may suggest. Galaxy. LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE RESARCH The academic research that focuses on ebooks is limited. REFERENCES Audit Bureau of Circulations. eReader. A Race Between Digital and Print Magazines. students and professors alike. students and professors alike.e. our reading behavior. and it may take some years before significant research publications are available. need of special reading instruments.e. i. Nooks. professors and students should move to adaptation of ebooks in the future. the test results indicate that in nine out ten variables. kindle. source: http://en. easiness to carry around. and Decision Sciences Volume 4. This study accepts one hypothesis: compatibility in the formats. etc. Others commented that the sizes of gadgets could be a factor for purchasing decision: 10" of tablet computer like iPad2. Le. this study has only limited glimpses of some fundamental aspects of ebooks about the publishing industry. These technological issues should also be addressed in the friture. Galaxy. Trachtenberg. Borders Files for Chapter 11 Bankmptcy Protection. Eric Morath. eReader. and the use of a small convenient sampling. easy to share with others. Weights. easy to read. Cheekier. Febmary 16. Weights. iPad. easy to share with others. Nooks. Additionally. i. iPad. cautions must be made in trying to generalize the outcomes of the research. NY Times. from the consumers' viewpoints. as it surveyed only college students. low cost of possession of the reading materials. such as Amazon's Kindles. The adoption of ebooks has emerged as a great challenge to the printed book. The respondents favor printed books over ebooks in one variable: easy to read. free delivery or delivery incentives. Spring 2011 .org/wiki/List of newspapers in the United States by circulation Bilton. As a preliminary and exploratory research. easiness to carry around. It may suggest to the publishing industry. respondents favor ebooks over printed book. book readers and users. concern with copyright. not only because of its advantages. Number 1. it is less important for publishing industry to focus on this issue. to further refine the ebooks in order to make them easier to read. and/or battery life. book readers and users. need of special reading instruments. etc. kindle. and our environment. Joseph. 2010..reading materials. Do consumers really need reading gadgets. Febmary 4. 2011. attractive prices for possessing contents. 2011. and Jeffrey A. i. These variables include: easy to obtain. Marketing. Nick. our society.

October 26). the Wall Street Journal. &. the Wall Street Journal.U. NY Times.org/2008/04/22/how-many-trees-are-cut-down-every-year/ Kane. (2010. New York. Kent Publishing Company. T. New York: John Wiley & Sons. W. IL: SPSS Inc.538. the Wall Street Journal. D. & R. NY Times. 2010. 2010. July 21).. the Wall Street Journal. Sherr. Apple to Tighten Control on Content. M. & Stone. Lewin. Newspaper Circulation Falls.greenfacts. the Wall Street Journal. Trachtenberg. M. A. Ovide. & Clark.htm http://understory. I.. December 10).ran. Vascellaro.. Hamburg. International Journal of Business. Trachtenberg. org/docl ibrary/industrystats. M. Arrival of the iPad Opens Door to More digital book Sales. A. For Amazon. Statistical Analysis for Decision Making. February 3)... Cosenza. NY Times. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Number 1.. S. 1985.. G. J. Digital book Pricing Put Into Turmoil. Davis. Fowler. (2010. Textbook Publisher to Rent to College Students. (2010. E. Practical Nonparametric Statistics. Rich. Ian. (2009. Business Research for Decision Making. opene-book.5. 1977.S. July 21). Boston. D. and Jeffrey A. Spring 2011 125 . SPSS^. A. In a Digital Age. 2nd ed. February 11). . 1980: 213-337 & 344-384. April 2).org/en/forests/index. (2009. Advanced Statistics. Trachtenberg. the Wall Street Journal. Fowler. August 14). http ://www.Conover. Inc. 7. pp. (2010. I. & Fowler. J. & Fowler.. B. Y. & Geoffrey A. 2nd ed.htm#2 http://www. October 19. G. 219. Barnes & Noble Challenges Amazon's Kindle. htm http://www. and Decision Sciences Volume 4. Students Still Cling to Paper Textbooks. Digital book Price Increase May Stir Readers' Passions. the Wall Street Journal. Geoffrey A. Chicago. Foderaro. 2002.. Marketing. October 27.opendigitalbook. J. Y. Web to Nook. (2011. ( 2009. A. Entrants Flood Race to Rival iPad. Barnes & Noble Adds Color. January 30. J. Kane..org/doc_library/industrystats. Lisa W. 2010.

program chair.D. Lu has authored two academic books and several book chapters. New Digital Book Pricing Model Adopted in Fits and Starts. the Wall Street Joumal. Dr. About the Authors: Chiang-nan Chao is a Professor of Management at Tobin College of Business. i. track chair. March 3.Trachtenberg. John's University. and Decision Sciences Volume 4. St. September 17.2009 Wamer. In addition. http://en. Textbook Firms Ink E-Deals For iPad. editor. F. July 29th. in operations/logistics and intemational business from Arizona State University. and reviewer. book chapters. 2010. Organizations and People. Vance.wikipedia. and cases have published in many leading journals. the International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management. Text-to-Speech Technology Reaches an Inflection Point. and served in various intemational and national academic organizations by holding the roles of conference chair. edited several conference proceedings. Journal of Teaching in International Business. Melodie. His more than 120 articles. the Journal of Education for Business. the Wall Street Journal.D. Wikipedia. books. the Journal of Supply Chain Management. Alex. April 1. associate editor. Number 1. 126 International Journal of Business. 2010.. and Yukari Iwatani Kane. Wilhelm.. and his Ph. How Many Kindles Have Been Sold? How Many Kindles Have Been Sold? posted on the Wall Street Joumal Blogs. NY Times.e. Trachtenberg. 2011. Lu's research areas are business analytics and information technology. Tablets Sapping PC Demand. Spring 2011 . etc.org/wiki/Student's_Mest. He published a number of peer-reviewed articles in journals including Operations Research and has made numerous presentations at intemational and national conferences and symposia. Garmer Says. at St. Jeffrey A. John's University. degree in Operations Research from Syracuse University. Dr. Ashlee. Victor Lu currently serves as the chair of Computer Information Systems and Decision Sciences department. New York. the Industrial Marketing Management. Febmary 2. the Journal of Strategic Marketing. Marketing. 2010. He earned his MBA from Lamar University. conference papers. the Wall Street Journal. He received his Ph. Journal of World Business. New York.. Jeffrey A.

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