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Japan's Ebook Readers Fans of Print, Too

Ebook readers are bigger on print than nonreaders

July 15, 2015

Ebook readers in Japan are a lucrative market for publishers, according to research from the Mobile Marketing Data Lab.

Frequency with Which Ebook Readers vs. Ebook Nonreaders in Japan Read Print Books, March 2015 (% of respondents)

Free ebooks are, unsurprisingly, more popular than paid ones. Among internet users in the country, 22.4% read free ebooks currently, and another 20.4% said they were interested in them. Respondents were about 5 percentage points less likely to read paid ebooks, and less than half as likely to report interest in them if they weren’t reading them already.

But ebook readers pay for more than just ebooks—they’re also big on print. Among internet users who did not read ebooks, 35.9% reported reading print books at least once per week, including 11.6% who read print books daily. Among ebook readers, those shares rose to 67.2% and 20.3%, respectively.

The difference is also big when it comes to purchasing habits. More than 8% of ebook-reading respondents said they purchased print books every day, and another 24.6% did so weekly. Among respondents who didn’t read ebooks, just 1.0% bought a print book daily, and 12.2% did so weekly.

According to 2014 data from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), digital sales of publications including ebooks and digital magazines reached ¥127.6 billion ($1.21 billion) last year.

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