Reviewers and Books

Last summer, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) launched BookCrash, a book review program for our member publishers’ books. BookCrash allows bloggers to receive free books published by CSPA member publishers in exchange for a fair review of the book on their blog and on one other online retail book site such as Amazon.com.

In the first six months of operation, BookCrash had 150 bloggers sign up to review books. I decided to take the time and compile some statistics from the program to date.

One of the questions a BookCrash reviewer answers is whether they prefer a review copy of the book in ebook or print format. To date, only 13% of BookCrash’s blogger reviewers have indicated that they prefer an ebook version to a print version.

CSPA member publishers have the ability to specify whether they want to offer review copies of their books in print or ebook format, or a combination of both. Thus far, 28% of the books offered have been made available only in ebook format for review.

What I found most interesting is that, on average, the books that were offered as ebook only for review received only one-half the requests for review copies compared to those books that were offered in print or a combination of print and ebook format. The books offered in ebook only format do not differ significantly in genre from the other books offered.

Here is what this data suggests for me. All things being equal, when given a choice of a free book in print or ebook format, people prefer the print book.

The question I can’t answer is “why?” Is it because a print book still has a higher inherent value than an ebook? Is it because one can’t easily give an ebook away when done reading it? Or, is it because the majority of people still prefer to read print books?

What do you think?

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