Inaugural Kobo Book Report Reveals Top eReading Trends from 2014

--Canadians turned 300 million virtual pages on their Kobo eReaders last holiday season--

TORONTO, Dec. 2, 2014 /CNW/ - When the weather outside is frightful, Canadians find eReading delightful – so delightful, in fact, that Canadians turned nearly 300 million virtual pages on Kobo devices over the holidays last year, with 16 million on Christmas Day alone.

These are just some of the findings from Kobo's inaugural Book Report, which reveals insightful 2014 eReading trends from its world-class platform, which includes a bookstore of more than 4.2 million titles1.

"Overall, the eBook market makes up about $14.5 billion in sales globally and is expected to reach more than $22 billion by 2017," said Michael Tamblyn, President and Chief Content Officer, Kobo.  "The advances that we're seeing year-over-year are incredible, with more publishers, users and new technology changing the face of the industry at an unprecedented pace." 

And what about those bestseller lists – are we actually reading everything we buy?  The Kobo Book Report reveals that of the millions of books downloaded by Canadian Kobo users in 2014, plenty do not get finished.

"A book's position on the bestseller list may indicate it's bought, but that isn't the same as it being read or finished," said Tamblyn. "A lot of readers have multiple novels on the go at any given time, which means they may not always read one book from start to finish before jumping into the next great story. People may wait days, months, or even until the following year to finish certain titles. And many reserve that inalienable reader's right to set down a book if it doesn't hold their interest."

The typical bestseller list often looks very different when you compare books purchased versus books read cover to cover.  While mystery author Sue Grafton is not on the Kobo Book Report's Bestseller List as featured below, three of her novels make the Most Completed Book List, meaning that hers were more often read from start to finish.  Donna Tartt's, The Goldfinch was the most downloaded and least completed novel of 2014. While the novel was critically acclaimed, it is likely the length of the novel (at a whopping 784 pages in the print edition) that proved daunting for some.

EBOOK MUST HAVES – 2014's Bestsellers

  1. Gone Girl Gillian Flynn
  2. The Fault in Our Stars John Green
  3. Insurgent Veronica Roth
  4. Allegiant Veronica Roth
  5. Divergent Veronica Roth
  6. The Goldfinch Donna Tartt
  7. Written in My Own Heart's Blood Diana Gabaldon
  8. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
  9. The Husband's Secret Liane Moriarty
  10. Philomena Martin Sixsmith

 CANADA'S TOP PAGE-TURNERS – The Most Completed Books of 2014

  1. Lover Awakened J.R. Ward
  2. Eleven on Top Janet Evanovich
  3. K is for Killer Sue Grafton
  4. Iron Kissed Patricia Briggs
  5. F is for Fugitive Sue Grafton
  6. Sweet Possession Maya Banks
  7. C is for Corpse Sue Grafton
  8. Chasing Perfect – Susan Mallery
  9. Plum Spooky – Janet Evanovich
  10. The Janus Stone – Elly Griffiths

Neighbourhood Novelists
The local movement doesn't just apply to food – local literature is just as easy to digest.  Of the top 100 Bestsellers worldwide, five Canadian writers made the list including Linwood BarclayA Tap on the Window, Eleanor CattonThe Luminaries, Louise PennyThe Long Way Home, 2014 Giller Prize Shortlist Nominee Miriam Toews – All My Puny Sorrows, and former Giller Prize Winner Joseph Boyden – The Orenda.  Interesting to note however, Louise Penny's The Long Way Home was one of the few Canadian novels that made both the top 100 Bestseller and Most Completed Book Lists for 2014.

Beating the January Blahs
Not surprisingly, self-improvement books, including cookbooks, health, and self-help books, are more popular during the month of January than at any other time of year.  More self-improvement books and books overall were downloaded in January than any other month, likely to kick-off some New Year's resolutions.

While Sunday would seem the most popular day of the week to finish a book in Canada and around the world, it's interesting to note that in 2014, 70 per cent of books were actually completed during the week – Monday to Friday.  Canadians were likely savouring the last few pages on their commute to and from work.

Opening up the Nightstand Drawer
Overall, Canadians find romance to be the most engaging genre, with 62 per cent completion, followed by fantasy (60 per cent) and mystery (59 per cent).  Romance is also the most engaging genre in Italy (74 per cent), the Netherlands (67 per cent) and Great Britain (62 per cent), while the French (70 per cent), Australians and New Zealanders (64 per cent) and Americans (44 per cent) prefer a good mystery.

Business and celebrity-focused books also enjoyed popularity in Canada in 2014.  Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis came out as the top seller perhaps due to his literary status of being the most famous non-fiction writer working today while Courtney Robertson's I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends shows that you can win (and lose) on the TV show The Bachelor and still win on the bestseller lists.

From the eScreen to the Big Screen
Several books made their big-screen debut late in 2013 and into 2014, including Twelve Years a Slave, The Best of Me, and Gone GirlGone Girl sold more copies in Canada primarily before the movie launched in October, thanks to the ripple effect on eBook sales that comes with the buzz of a new movie. Over a three-month period, almost 40 per cent of books sales for Gone Girl occurred in the week prior and week after the movie premiere.

Kids Love Kobo
Kids are going digital! Children's eBooks, including picture books, children's and young adult novels are gaining traction as parents are realizing the appeal of eReaders for a tech-savvy generation.  Children's titles, available at the Kobo Kids' Store offering 100,000 titles, made up more than seven per cent of Kobo's overall 2014 book sales. This kid-friendly browsing experience even lets parents set up reading allowances so that kids have the freedom to select their own eBooks without needing access to a credit card.

And top kids' picks for 2014? The younger generation is definitely in-the-know when it comes to new releases, so it was no surprise to see three of the most anticipated 2014 titles topping kids' wish lists this year. The Iron Trial by Holly Black led the pack followed by The Dairy of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney, and The Boundless written by Canadian author Kenneth Oppel.

Your New Favourite – An eReader to Beat the Elements
The new 6.8-inch HD Kobo Aura H2O will continue to elevate Canadians' reading experience in 2015 with its waterproof and dustproof features, giving readers the choice to enjoy their favourite stories anywhere. The eReader has customizable fonts, ample storage and reading stats, and the discovery of new titles is easy with on-device recommendations based on readers' activity and preferences. Available in black and retails for $179.99 (MSRP) online and in-store at select Canadian retailers.

"Canadians and consumers around the globe have had an overwhelmingly positive response to Kobo's breakthrough device, which removes the last barrier to read anywhere," said Tamblyn. "In fact, the Kobo Aura H2O is exceeding our expectations, and currently makes up approximately 20 per cent of our overall device sales. We've always wanted to provide consumers with the option to read in more places and now they can in the bath, at the beach and in bed."

For more information, visit www.kobo.com.

About the Kobo Book Report
Data was collected from January to November 2014 from more than 21 million users. Countries studied include Canada, U.S., the Netherlands, France, Australia, Italy, New Zealand and the UK. Genres analyzed include Mystery, Kids, Romance, Fiction (including Literary Fiction and General Fiction), Fantasy, Science Fiction, Non-Fiction, Graphic Novel and Religion.

About Rakuten Kobo Inc.
Rakuten Kobo Inc. is one of the world's fastest-growing eReading services offering more than 4.2 million eBooks and magazines to millions of customers in 190 countries.  Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo provides consumers with a choice when reading. Kobo offers an eReader for everyone with a wide variety of E Ink eReaders and Google-Certified Android tablets to suit any Reader's style including the award-winning Kobo Touch™, Kobo Mini, Kobo Glo, Kobo Aura, Kobo Aura HD, Kobo Arc, Kobo Arc 7, Kobo Arc 7HD, Kobo Arc 10HD – and the newly launched Kobo Aura H2O. Along with the company's free top-ranking eReading apps for Apple®, BlackBerry®, Android®, and Windows®, Kobo ensures the next great read is just a page-turn away. Headquartered in Toronto and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten, Kobo eReaders can be found in major retail chains around the world. For more information, visit www.kobo.com.

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1
 Statistics based on registered Kobo Readers in relevant categories between January 2014 and November 2014 and some comparisons made against the same timeframe in the previous year.

SOURCE: Kobo Inc.

For further information: Caroline Dunnet / Laura Casselman, Edelman, Caroline.dunnet@edelman.com / laura.casselman@edelman.com, 647.252.2864 / 416.849.3172 OR René d'Entremont, Senior PR Manager, Rakuten Kobo Inc., 416.977.8737 x 3587, rdentremont@kobo.com


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