Obviously Indy Authors are grateful for the introduction of the e-reader since it has given us a platform for us to get our books out to our readers. The technology available in most e-readers or tablets also make it easier for readers to find new authors. This got me thinking though, I wonder just how much overall book readership has increased since its introduction.
I know I am certainly one of those people who "rediscovered" reading when I received my first Kindle. I probably bought 4-5 books a year, usually when I was traveling, prior to its purchase. However in the first year I owned my kindle I downloaded over 70 books and ready about 50 of them. About a third of those were free books, which didn't monetarily help any authors, but many of those helped me discover many of my favorite authors that are on my auto-buy list now. In the year since I downloaded over 100 books, again about a third were free, but again I discovered new authors that I love as a result. I assume many other readers have similar stories to me.
The other thing about e-readers and digital books in general is how easy it is to buy the next book in a series. Instead of having to drive down the street to buy the next book in a series, or even go online to buy a paperback copy to be delivered in a couple of days, now all a reader has to do is click a link at the end of the book to take them to a site where they can purchase the copy right there and download it immediately. I figure there has to be a significant increase in sales just due to the simplicity of buying the next book. Not to mention that generally the cost is significantly less than that of the paper copy of the book.
I did some research and was surprised to find out that more people still read traditional books over e-books, but the number of people reading e-books is increasing. I was also surprised at how few people actually check digital books out from the library. As I wrote about awhile back, I think the availability of e-books and audiobooks from the library is an amazing resource. Sure the selection is mediocre right now, but the more people use the content the more books will become available there.
Another reason I suspect that the number of people reading e-books is increasing is because of the popularity of Romance and thanks to Fifty Shades of Gray, Erotic Romance. Although it is becoming increasingly common for women to talk about the genre of books, they are still not always comfortable carrying around books with half naked men on the covers when they are on an airplane or at the doctor's office, a problem easily remedied by e-readers.
All of this is great news for indie authors. There are more people reading, more people buying, and it's easier to buy than ever before. Right now it is a great time to be an indie author and a great time to be a reader. How lucky for all of us!