New InfoTrends Study Shows that Electronic and Printed Products have a Future Together

David Haueter
May 2, 2014

It’s safe to say that electronic viewing and sharing of photos is here to stay as the use of smartphones and tablets become a more prevalent part of our photography habits. What’s more of a wild card is how electronic “e-books” and “e-cards” will ultimately impact the print side of the market. Recent research by InfoTrends suggests that there is room for both, and that the print side of the market may even get a boost from the electronic world.

InfoTrends recently conducted a research project that delved into the reasons that consumers use the devices they do for photography and why they choose to do (or not do, as the case may be) certain things with their photos. The multi-client study, titled Social Photo and Video: The New Communication and Memory-Keeping Paradigm, examines how people use their digital cameras and mobile devices for photo and video. The study also goes into detail on how consumers are using these devices for output and how the use of electronic e-books and e-cards impact their print habits.

In the consumer survey portion of the research, we asked how the availability of an electronic version of photo products like cards and books would affect respondents’ willingness to purchase a printed copy. While around half said that they wouldn’t be any more or less likely to buy a photo book if an electronic version were available, more than 35% said they would be either “significantly” or “slightly” more likely to buy a printed book.

Interestingly, we found that the respondents’ choice of a primary picture-taking device didn’t have an impact on their likelihood to buy a printed photo book. In fact, the percentage of respondents that said they would be “significantly” more likely to purchase a printed copy was higher among those who use a smartphone or tablet most often than it was among those who use a digital camera most often. We also asked the question the other way around —if having the ability to order a printed copy of a photo book would make them more or less likely to buy an electronic e-book, and the results were nearly identical.

It’s clear that there’s an opportunity here. InfoTrends believes that electronic and printed output will be able to co-exist peacefully for several years, and that the availability of electronic versions of products like photo books may bolster sales of printed copies when marketed effectively. Some vendors like Blurb are already selling both e-books and printed books, but perhaps other vendors should look to follow their example.

If you would like more information on how to purchase the InfoTrends Social Photo and Video: The New Communication and Memory-Keeping Paradigm study, please contact Matt O’Keefe at or at 781-616-2100 ext. 115.


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