The Digital Tipping Point — Why 12% is More Like 80%

July 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Statistics can be such a misleading thing — take the latest: 12% of the United States has eReaders.   Not very many is it — only 12%.  Yet, something nags at my mathematical brain — a stat I remembered hearing.  I found a lot of reference to it, but could never verify it, yet it has that ring of truth — namely, 80% of American households didn’t buy a book in the last year (could never find the original source, so it may be apocryphal, but it smacks of relevance when 30% don’t know who the US declared independence from in 1776) . Now, that 80% chunk of the population is not going to buy an eReader and even assuming the other 20% buy an equal number of books, eReaders have tipped and most books are now bought in digital format. Amazon’s public announcements also mirror this.

Bottom line — the relevant stat is not what percentage own an eReader, but what percentage of book buyers buy digital books — and I know that is much higher than 12% .  If you want to sell a book these days, you better get it in digital format.

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