Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

Customer Attitudes towards Buying E-Books: Perspectives from a Romanian Publishing House

Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

Customer Attitudes towards Buying E-Books: Perspectives from a Romanian Publishing House

Article excerpt

Introduction

With the accelerated digitalization of the world, increasingly more facets of life are being handled over the Internet, from issues such as keeping in touch with friends up to checking bank accounts or booking a table in a restaurant (Dramnescu, Stavre, 2015; Innopay, 2012; Tello et al., 2012). Given the circumstances, the landscape of buying is redefined, with the Internet gaining importance in purchase decisions thanks to a high number of connected devices (Ionescu, Diaconu, 2015). Products are now flowing directly into the lives of consumers, who do not have to make the effort anymore to get out of their homes and go to a shop. Many customers already turn to e-commerce, with online stores occupying a hot spot in the modern business environment (Koo, Ju, 2010). In 2011, the worldwide volume of e-commerce extended to 680 billion US Dollar, a 19% increase year-over-year (Innopay, 2012).

There is no wonder that a large part of trade is now to be found online. E-commerce, defined from a business-to-consumer perspective, is seen as the transaction of products through electronic channels (Grandon, Pearson, 2004). Paid for online, products can be distributed through two channels: still online, if the product has got an electronic form, or offline, if the product has got tangible properties.

On the other hand side, studies also regard e-commerce as a business operation, coordinated by company employees (Molla, Licker, 2004). E-commerce has been told to be particularly alluring for smaller businesses trailing behind market leaders, as it could provide marketing advantages. Adopting new technology allows businesses to open up to clients far removed in space. Acces to a larger clientele is related to the possibility of increased sales, one of the main drivers for businesses to trade online. Improved sales opportunities can, at their turn, improve revenues and reestablish competitivity.

In what concerns customers, opinions are split between adopters, late-adopters and non-adopters. Adopters are eager to purchase online thanks to a range of advantages they can benefit from. Online commerce offers great time- and cost-savings (Szymanski, Hise, 2000): the search for information, the comparison of products, as well as the placement of the order, amongst others, are easier to make. Most of all, however, purchasing online implies the home-delivery of the ordered goods, which spares the client from travelling to the retailer's brick and mortar shop to pick up the product. Convenience, hence, is seen as a quality of e-commerce.

Late-adopters hold back in doubt when it comes to purchase from the internet because of issues concerning security, privacy and industriousness (McKnight et al., 2002). It is the perceptions customers have about these issues that transform the former ones in late-adopters or non-adopters - people who haven't let themselves persuaded by the instigation to buy online.

E-Commerce of books

A research done by Gefen (2000) through the e-commerce establishment shows that books and CD's are the most sought-after products online. The author attributes a major role of this development to retailing websites such as Amazon and eBay, which serve millions of customers overall the world. The improvement of the webspace has modified retailing habits and has directed the bookstores' industry to undergo an electronic transformation (Jiang, Katsamakas, 2010). Books are one of the most suitable products to sell online, thanks to some characteristics such as:

· No pre-purchase testing is needed as with other technological goods, like cars, for example;

· Easy transportation and fast delivery;

· The risk of damaging while being delivered is low, as compared, for example, with technological goods;

· Books are easy to return to the seller if there are any problems with the item.

Hence, many e-bookstores have emerged after the dot-com bubble in 2002. Next to the web, another factor that encourages the online purchase of books is globalization. …

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