eBooks offer the reader a wide range of advantages that printed books do not. They are cheaper, lighter and, based on new e-ink technology, just as readable as printed books. Nevertheless, in important book markets such as Europe, eBook acceptance is still relatively low. A reason for this reluctance seems to be an eBook?s lack of haptic attributes. Even if people decide to read an eBook, they seem to read it in a different way than they would a printed book. Flipping through the pages, seeing the reading progress and touching the spine are not possible. The aim of this study is to show that the intangibility of eBooks leads to less involvement with the book. We used Amazon.com customer reviews as an indicator of the reviewers individual involvement. We showed that reviews of eBooks were shorter, more extreme in their star rating, and rated as less helpful than reviews of printed books. On the whole, our results indicate that the product involvement of readers of digital and printed books differs significantly. Practical implications to reduce this gap in the future are derived from our findings and limitations for further research are discussed.
Wagner, Thomas; Benlian, Alexander; and Hess, Thomas, "THE ROLE OF PRODUCT INVOLVEMENT IN DIGITAL AND PHYSICAL READING - A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF CUSTOMER REVIEWS OF EBOOKS VS. PRINTED BOOKS" (2012). ECIS 2012 Proceedings. Paper 57.