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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7 thoughts on “Reviewers and Books

  1. I suspect in many cases (I’m one who always asks for print), we have not yet found an ereader that really works for us. Plus, many like me come from a print background because we really like print. Once I get my iPad that may change… it’ll be interesting to see.

    At this point the proprietary formats, Kindle and Nook, are a real barrier to me.

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  2. So far I’ve requested print, and I usually prefer to buy print, because 1) it’s easier on my eyes and I don’t feel like even in my pleasure reading time I’m staring at a screen, 2) I like the feel of a real book, and 3) to be honest, I love having a full bookcase. But right now my bookcase is a little too full, so I might be requesting ebooks in the future!

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  3. I did a giveaway this weekend for my latest release “Breathless”. I told the guests they could put their names into both drawings. One woman said, “I’d rather have the print book because you can’t sign the e-book.” I think that might explain some of it.

    I still prefer print books because I’m on the computer all day long. I’m not only an author but a paralegal. I don’t need another electronic devise to stick my face in.

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  4. So far I’ve had Book Crash requests for 9 copies of my book. The reviews I’ve received were all posted to the blogger’s blog plus Amazon (none to Barnes & Noble yet). I think they have been very helpful–not just having reviews on Amazon, but having blogs to Tweet and Facebook, as well as something to post on my own blog: “Hey! A new review of Deliver Me here…!”

    My book isn’t yet available as an e-book. I have a lot of work to do to get it ready for Kindle. I hope to work on that soon and maybe have it ready for the book’s one-year anniversary in April.

    So far, I’ve only had one friend tell me she would buy it if it were available as an e-book. She said since she got her e-reader as a gift, she doesn’t buy print books anymore.

    As for me, Ariel and Kathryn voiced my thought exactly: As a writer, I’m on my computer all day almost every day. I need a break and my eyes desperately need a break from reading onscreen. I don’t want my books on an e-reader. I want to take a print book to my most comfortable place and have a break from reading an electronic screen.

    I don’t think print books are going to die out for a long while–until there are no more trees for paper.

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  5. It wasn’t that long ago that I would have said, “Ebooks aren’t ‘real’ books,” so I’m not all that surprised. However, I have changed my views about digital readers for a few reasons: 1) I’m attempting to declutter our home. So far, I’ve sold five banker’s boxes filled with books and have seven more boxed up…and still have plenty of books throughout the house; 2) I love to read several different books at once. My Kobo makes it easy to take them all with me at any given time; and 3) for whatever reason, I find I’m reading more now that I have my e-reader, ebooks and print books.

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