5 million people read books in the US each year, and more than one in three spend time in the bookstore, according to research from bookseller BookScan.
But most people don’t realize how many books they can actually buy in their local bookstore.
In a study published Tuesday, BookScan researchers looked at sales data from the US’s largest chains of bookstores and found that out of the total book inventory at those stores, only about 1% is available for sale.
Most books aren’t in stock, the researchers found.
For the average book buyer, that’s a huge gap.
“This is a problem that needs to be addressed,” said BookScan CEO David Haddad.
“There’s no way to fix it.”
The authors of the study said the problem stems from a number of factors, including the lack of online and physical bookstores.
But they added that digital bookselling is becoming a trend in the United States and other countries.
It’s a new, digital world where customers have more choices, they said.
“The number of people who are buying digital books is really growing,” Haddaid said.
And it’s a market that BookScan thinks will continue to grow, particularly in the next year or two.
“It’s the future,” Hadaid said of the digital book market.
“I think that’s going to happen.”
Books in general will continue on their path, Haddafaid said, but the way books are being sold online, in stores and in e-commerce is the biggest factor.
“People want to know, where is this book going to go?”
That means consumers need to pay attention to what they’re buying.
“How much are they going to be able to pay for this book?”
Hadand said, adding that customers need to know what they are getting into when they buy.
“That’s where the real money will be made.”
The study analyzed the number of digital books sold each month in the first quarter of 2017 for a total of 2,092,611 titles.
The researchers then found that books sold in the store market were on average $5.65 more expensive than those sold online.
That’s because retailers often require consumers to pay a premium for digital books.
“We have to be very careful that we don’t make people buy books that are not what they want,” Hadsaid said about charging more for books than for e-books.
He said retailers often offer incentives to customers for buying digital content, such as discounts and free books.
The study also found that Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Barnes & Noble have increased the prices of digital content significantly in the past two years.
Amazon recently increased its digital prices by 40%, to $3.99 for a book, and has also launched a digital-only edition of its bestsellers list.
In the United Kingdom, the price of e-book books has dropped by a third since 2011, according, to the UK government.
It has now dropped to $2.99 from $5, but that price is expected to increase again in 2018, the study found.
The authors noted that many bookstores have already moved away from digital sales, and they said the industry is “still far from being fully digital-friendly.”
For example, in a recent study, the Authors Guild found that the average cost of buying a book online in the U.S. was $13.60, up from $8.65 a decade ago.
The group also said that “over a quarter of U.K. retailers are still not accepting digital sales.”
The researchers said it’s time to change the way the book industry is designed.
“Many of the books on the [digital] list are really good,” Hadi said.
If retailers could make books that were actually good, they wouldn’t need to charge a premium to get those books in stores, Hadsad said.