A Non-Book Smuggler Survey

Hello, everyone! Book Smuggler Thea, here.

As you may know in addition to being a Smuggler, I’m also an NYU grad student, working on my degree in digital publishing. Today I write to you in my capacity as a sleep-deprived, book-loving grad student.

I’m in my final semester and working on my thesis – a hypothetical international publisher of SF/F ebooks and select high-quality print books. And this is where I throw myself on your mercy and beg! I need to gather data on book readers and book lovers – namely, YOU! I have prepared a survey that should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. It’s completely anonymous (unless you want to identify yourself) and results will only be used in aggregate for data trend analysis in my thesis. This is NOT for the Book Smugglers, nor is it reflective of the blog in any way!

If you feel uncomfortable or would prefer not to respond, I completely and totally understand. (But if you do fill out my survey, I will be eternally grateful and will love you forever. Precious. And if you want to pass on the survey, that would be awesome, too.)

You can access the survey HERE, or via the embedded page below.

Thank you so much for your time and help!

This survey has been closed.


  • Celine
    February 15, 2012 at 1:04 am

    Thea – by the question ‘Does DRM matter to you’ do you mean does it affect availability where you live, or do you mean is it an issue which bothers you?

  • Celine
    February 15, 2012 at 1:27 am

    PS: I filled it out as if it meant ‘does it affect availability’. I hope that was the right thing?

  • Katherine
    February 15, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Did it πŸ™‚

  • Calamity Jane
    February 15, 2012 at 2:12 am

    As a fellow student of book editting, I’m glad to help! πŸ™‚

  • Bibliotropic
    February 15, 2012 at 5:29 am

    Very interesting survey. Only one thing caught my attention about it that made me feel I was unable to say fully what I wanted to say: the question about whether e-book prices are too high or low. An “other” option with a text box would have been good there, because I wanted to comment that some e-books are underpriced simply in order to compete with the market and garner even slight interest (mostly self-published books) whereas others I’ve found horribly overpriced, to the point where I couldn’t even consider purchasing it. ($20 for an e-book can be asking a lot.)

  • Serenity
    February 15, 2012 at 5:50 am

    I agree with Bibliotropic. It really depends on how much I want to read the ebook. If it’s something I really want to read, I’d be willing to pay as much as it takes; if it’s a title I haven’t heard of or am not in a rush to read, I probably wouldn’t get it anyway unless it were free. On the other hand, if a ebook were on sale/promotion (and it had gotten good reviews), I will inevitably buy it because I always fall for sales/promotions. But on the survey, I marked “prices too high” on general principle, because who wants to ever pay more for anything??

  • Estara
    February 15, 2012 at 5:56 am

    ideal price – do you mean the price I wish I could pay or the one that I still would buy a new 300+ pages novel at? Hmm.

  • Thea
    February 15, 2012 at 7:38 am

    Hi everyone, thank you all SO MUCH for your answers, opinions, and especially for your questions!

    Celine – Regarding DRM, I want to learn if it matters to readers in the broadest general sense (availability issues, philosophically, etc). I’d love to hear more about how it affects you individually, though! Is your issue that because you’re internationally based, DRM means ebooks are less available? (My hypothetical publisher will not be using DRM because I do think ebook distribution should be truly international, without running into the frustrating IP blocking problems that happen often at the retailer level.) Let me know what you think!

    Katherine – THANK YOU!!! *HUGS*

    Calamity Jane – A fellow book editing student!! Ahhh! Thank you so much, and if there’s any way I can help repay the favor, let me know :mrgreen:

    Bibliotropic and Serenity – Thanks so much for your comments! I want to get the broadest picture and gut reaction of customers as to whether ebook prices are too high/low or just right as a whole (more of an overview of the current ebook market without getting granular), but I will add a question AFTER that question allowing folks to explain how they feel about ebook prices (if they so choose, or if they have mixed feelings, as you both do!). Thank you so much for your insights.

    May I quote you in my findings (anonymously, if you prefer?)? It is very interesting to see what kind of tolerance you have for ebook pricing and what you’re willing to pay based on different factors.

    Estara – The price that you think is fair to pay for a full length ebook. I think everyone would love to get anything for a deal or for cheap, but I’m looking for what is – in your opinion – the realistic, fair price that you’d pay for a 300ish page long book in digital form. (Sorry if that is evasive, I don’t want to influence decisions or perceptions!)

  • Celine
    February 15, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Hi Thea, in terms of a availability DRM doesn’t affect me because (sometimes to our chagrin) Ireland is basically just considered part of the UK and so we get all the e-books that are available to the market. SO that is how I answered the question ( as in – ‘no, it doesn’t matter to me (because the e-books I want are mostly available in my country))

    However, as an author , I can only say that lack of DRM makes me a little uneasy – perhaps for no reason but here is why: As paper publishing stands, territorial rights are sometimes protected for a good reason (for example, in Australia the parallel publishing laws means that all books distributed in Australia must have been published in Australia. This means, as I understand it, that the Aus market is self sustaining and Aus publishers thereby generate enough income to enable them support and encourage local authors, or authors who would (in the US or UK) be considered too quirky to take a risk on. In my opinion this is one of the major factors in AUS YA lit being the crazy awesome party of innovation and risk taking that it is today – the Aussies not only like to take chances on odder material, thanks to territorial rights protection they can also afford to.

    Ireland’s publishing industry is mostly supported by grant funding and through the selling on of territorial rights, it is this that allows our publishers take similar risks to the AUS market ( though, without parallel publishing most of the books sold in our book stores are those published abroad, so we don’t self-generate half the income the Aussies do and therefore don’t take as many risks)

    While I understand that DRMless e-books change everything with boundaryless distribution, I suspect that the larger UK and US publishers will still dominate the market due to advertising budget and ready-made reader loyalty, foreign language publishers will continue to be protected by the very fact that they have a ready made income generated within their own populous (and diaspora) but I am concerned that the smaller, more vulnerable English-speaking publishers will perhaps suffer due to a lack of territorial control?

    Again, very half baked concerns, but maybe appropriate to be aired here? (forgive me if not!)

  • Yeti
    February 15, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Done! πŸ˜€

  • Jackie Kessler
    February 15, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Hey, I went to NYU for my grad degree too! πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous
    February 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Haha quote away. Another point that might be relevant: amazon initially marketed the kindle as a good investment b/c they promised all ebooks to be $6.99. Personally, that was the reason I bought mine. It then publishers threw fits and after all that drama ebook prices were raised and amazon publicly disagreed with the price raise. I felt cheated and blamed the publishers. Logically, I realize that ebooks still tend to be cheaper than paper books, and if amazon had never promised $6.99 I probably would have thought ebooks were good deals. But amazon skewed my expectations and now I regard $6.99 as my price of reference for ebooks.

  • Serenity
    February 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Sorry above comment was mine

  • Estara
    February 15, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    So it was the “fair price” – that’s how I answered it then ^^. Also – since I couldn’t explain this while ticking “DRM doesn’t bother me” – I did NOT mean the regional restrictions (which do bother me and I have to do a devious dance around just to be able to semi-legally pay money to get the book – as in I have found a way to fake being a USian, otherwise they wouldn’t sell me some of the books I want), I meant the software parts of it.

    They don’t influence my ebook buying because I have educated myself and crack the DRM of the books I bought to be able to read them on my ebook reader AND to be able to do things like add description and cover to the beginning of the book in Calibre, as well as increase basic font size – since my eyes are not that great anymore.

    If I couldn’t do that DRM would dictate a whole lot less shopping of conservative publishers’ books. I buy a lot of e-only publishers authors as well, and they have been intelligent enough so far to make it easy – they usually also don’t mind me paying with money earned in Germany.

  • Lesley D
    February 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I did it! I’m working on my undergrad thesis right now and trying to get interviews is turning out to be quite challenging. So I’m glad I was able to help with your survey. Good luck with your master’s thesis. πŸ™‚

    Coincidentally, I just applied to NYU for grad school. Hopefully I get in. *fingers crossed*

  • Blog Update and Survey Request « Amy Reads
    February 16, 2012 at 4:26 am

    […] I’m here I’d like to take a minute to point you toward a survey that Thea of The Book Smugglers is doing for her thesis in grad school. She says on her post about […]

  • Fill out a book survey to help a grad student | Joy's Book Blog
    February 16, 2012 at 9:25 am

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  • Kinna
    February 16, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Came here via Amy Reads. Done and good luck!

  • Bumbles
    February 16, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Sorry to be dense, but I don’t know what DRM means – so I couldn’t complete your survey!

  • Rowan
    February 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Done =) (Had to google “DRM”, though, haha. I’m a bit ignorant of things concerning ebooks.)

  • Pippi55
    February 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    I completed the survey, but I have to say that the gender part bothered me. How is it relevant? And why are there only 2 options? At least an ‘other’ would’ve been grand.

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