Monday, May 23, 2011

Pre BEA Conference Highlights

The BEA exhibit hall doesn't open until tomorrow, but I have already been very impressed with the pre-conference! WOW! First, I stopped by the BEA info booth where a very knowledgeable *person* walked me through all the reasons to download the BEA event app on my iPhone. She was right, the app was just what I needed to organize my day! It was much easier to navigate than the website.
Next, I attended a FABULOUS session:
The E-Book Era is Now. What does it look like from the consumer perspective? And what do we do about it? Kelly Gallagher, General Manager, Business Intelligence, RR. Bowker, clearly articulated the growth and potential of the eBook market. In October, eBook sales grew by approximately 11%. Gallagher predicted that Amazon is getting more seriously into the content space and will soon break into the publishing stratosphere. Today's eBook *power buyer* is 66% female (compared to just 49% in 2009), with a household income of $77K, who reads mostly romance. 50% of all eBooks sold are fiction. 18% of these *power buyers* represent a whopping 61% of the total eBook purchases and most have a dedicated eReader.
What does this mean for libraries????
1. Libraries who are not purchasing eBooks need to do so, fast.
2. Ebook subscription services need to change to meet the needs of the library consumer.
3. Libraries need to have these same types of consumer studies that the publishers have
*Note* Bowker and Library Journal are partnering together to do this! Yay! Press Release slated to go out today.
4. Libraries need to become experts on the different types of eReader devices and provide options for patrons to try them out and be trained on how to use them.
5. Libraries need to have *video tutorials* on how to use their eBook subscription service for the FIRST time. Downloading the applications is often confusing, even for a tech savy individual.
6. Libraries and Consortiums should hire tech-savy teams to create better electronic delivery experiences with more options for social networking, eg. sharing recommendations with a friend etc.
None of this is necessarily "new" but it is certainly interesting to have been able to see the consumer market research driving next generation models. I highly recommend librarians to look beyond the "Bea Loves Librarians" program tracks to find the cutting edge research and technology. To find out more about consumer attitudes surveys and to suggest questions, contact If you need a great speaker to discuss current markets and predicting the future of ebooks, was great!

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