Adoption of Mobile Reading Devices in the Book Industry

Adoption of Mobile Reading Devices in the Book Industry

Vanessa Ratten (Deakin University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1939-5.ch011
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Mobile reading devices are leading the world into another communications revolution and means of conducting everyday activities. The acceptance of mobile reading devices depends on consumer user acceptance in addition to technological innovation. This chapter develops a conceptual framework incorporating emotional response, marketing usefulness, and attitudes towards technological innovations to explain the major factors influencing a person’s decision to adopt a mobile reading device. By incorporating different theoretical approaches to the adoption of mobile reading devices, this chapter highlights how certain aspects of these theories are relevant in the context of electronic books (e-books). The main theories integrated in this chapter that focus on e-books are the technology acceptance model (TAM), theory of reasoned action (TRA), theory of planned behavior (TPB), and social cognitive theory. Three propositions are developed from the conceptual framework and theoretical analysis of technology adoption models that promote and facilitate future empirical research relating to mobile reading devices.
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Mobile reading devices are a technological innovation that is changing the book and retail industry. More e-books are sold on Amazon than paper books and the number of e-books has increased significantly in the past couple of years (, 2010). Mobile reading or e-book devices enable a person to read electronically on a portable handheld device. There are a number of features available on mobile reading devices that do not occur in traditional paper format including sound, comments, hyperlinks, foreign language translation and text searching (Vassiliou & Rowley, 2008). The main feature of a mobile reading device is displaying e-books, which comprise text in electronic format (Long, 2003). More recently, sophisticated technological innovations such as annotations have lead to mobile reading devices becoming integrated computer devices (Shiratuddin & Landoni, 2003).

A number of companies have recently introduced mobile reading devices into the marketplace as e-books gain in popularity and mobile communication is encouraged. Apple released the iPad as a touch screen tablet that enables people to read books and has updated iPhones to have an e-book application. Currently the most popular mobile reading device is Amazon’s Kindle, which enables people to buy an e-book. Other companies selling mobile reading devices include Barnes & Noble (Nook), Sony (Reader), Kobe (e-Reader) and Pandigital (Novel). Mobile reading devices have a number of advantages over paper reading material as they have translation capabilities, speech software, are ergonomic and environmentally friendly. E-books offer the added advantage over paper books to publishers as they are hard to copy as a mobile reading device is required to read the material. As books older than 100 years are available free of charge to anyone due to copyright laws, this has encouraged Google to create digital versions of all books in the world in order to create an electronic library. In addition, there has been some publishing innovations made possible by mobile communications that are encouraging the use of mobile reading devices because of their low cost and up to date coverage. These include online news websites such as the Huffington Post and celebrity blogs including Perez Hilton. The interactivity between consumers and news authors has made mobile reading devices a new and innovative medium that is changing traditional publishing mechanisms. Moreover, the increased usage of websites like Youtube and Facebook as news feeds has meant that more people are becoming familiar with reading only in an e-format rather than a paper format.

Mobile reading devices are becoming increasingly popular on a global scale. The Kindle, Nook and iPad are the most commonly used mobile reading devices that have been made possible by the convergence of two technological innovations: wireless technology and the internet. New opportunities for mobile commerce (m-commerce) that leverages the benefit of real time information in most global locations has increased through mobile reading devices. The advantages of m-commerce enable consumers and businesses to have better access to information that encourages personalization (Lu, Yu, Liu & Yao, 2003). Whilst there has been a continued stream of research on mobile services, little activity has been placed on the reasons why consumers intend to adopt mobile reading devices. As more books, magazines and newspapers are being offered in electronic format, research on behavioral intentions to adopt mobile reading devices is worthwhile in providing useful and practical information at the early stage in the adoption process of this technological innovation. The aim of this paper is to develop a conceptual framework that focuses on the major factors influencing consumer adoption of mobile reading devices. The format of this paper is as follows. Firstly, the literature on technological innovations and adoption behavior is reviewed. Then the major theoretical perspectives are examined in terms of their application to mobile reading devices. The key determinants of behavioral intention to adopt new technology of emotional response, marketing usefulness and attitudes towards technological innovations are stated in a set of research propositions. These theoretical propositions derived from the current literature on mobile reading devices and technological innovations enable the discussion of practical implications and future research suggestions to mobile services.

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