Middle-Aged Women Drive eBook Sales Though Print Still Holds Strong

Literary magic doesn't discriminate.

06/10/2016 3:03 PM AEDT | Updated 06/10/2016 8:27 PM AEDT
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In a world of Instagram, binge-watching and BuzzFeed listicles, you'd be right in thinking this whole technology thing was driven by millennials with way too much time on their hands.

Though there is one exception -- eBooks.

According to the latest whitepaper from eBook giant Rakuten Kobo, approximately 77 percent of its most active readers are 45 and older, and the largest single group (30 percent) is those aged 55 to 64.

Yep, while they're busy shunning the latest Snapchat filter they are deep in digital literary land. And we mean deep.

With 28 million readers across 18 countries, women rule with 75 percent of its most avid readers being female. These women are reading at least 20 hours a week.

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Of Kobo's avid female readers, romance is by far the best-selling category.

So, what's happening to our beloved print?

"Interestingly, our most prolific ebook readers also continue to read in print, with customers buying an average of five ebooks a month as well as 16 print books a year," Michael Tamblyn, Kobo CEO told The Huffington Post Australia.

At present eBooks make up 20 to 30 percent of overall book sales, more depending on the category.

It's become clear that rather than print and eBooks being in direct competition, they coexist within a larger reading ecosystem.

Mystery, romance and erotica straight to the ereader, while children's books, interior design and basically anything you'd like to have on display in physical form.

"It's become clear that rather than print and eBooks being in direct competition, they coexist within a larger reading ecosystem," Tamblyn said.

The way we receive reading recommendations depends on our age, too with Gen Yers turning to social media while those 65 plus relying on traditional critic reviews in the newspaper.

A common thread however, comes in the form of personal recommendations from friends with 58 percent confirming this is how they choose their next book.

You're welcome.

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