News Release 

Likelihood of e-book purchases increase 31% by combining previews and reviews

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences

  • Research reveals consumers don't simply rely on other peoples' opinions in reviews but leverage a combination of reviews and previews when purchasing e-books.

  • The purchase likelihood escalates 31% when consumers are exposed to both e-book previews and reviews.

  • Purchase likelihood is between 7 and 17% when consumers are exposed to either e-book previews only or online reviews only.

CATONSVILLE, MD, January 30, 2020 - New research in the INFORMS journal Information Systems Research finds that the purchasing decision of customers considering buying e-books is significantly influenced through easy access to a combination of e-book previews and reviews, resulting in a staggering 31% increase in a consumer's likelihood to purchase an e-book. When exposed to either previews only or online reviews only, purchase likelihood is between 7 and 17%.

The study, "When Seeing Helps Believing: The Interactive Effects of Previews and Reviews on E-Book Purchases," was conducted by Angela Choi of Florida State University, Daegon Cho and Wonseok Oh of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Dobin Yim of Loyola University and Jae Yun Moon of Korea University. Their work suggests that a combination of e-book previews alongside online reviews positively influence individual purchase decisions.

The researchers analyzed two months of data on more than 270,000 sessions that comprise clickstream data on consumers' exposure to previews and reviews and data on their subsequent purchase behaviors.

"Online reviews have served as critical resources for driving traffic and increasing sales, especially for e-books, but have also suffered from many market imperfections such as fake reviews, grade inflation and deliberate manipulation," said Choi.

To enhance consumers' direct product experiences and facilitate the validation of product-taste fit prior to purchase, many platform operators offer online previews. They allow for the opportunity to listen to the first few pages or chapters of a book ahead of purchase.

The notable difference between previews and online reviews is a matter of distance, meaning first-hand knowledge from direct experience, or a preview, versus second-hand knowledge from indirect experience, or an online review.

"Striking the right balance between direct and indirect product experience is becoming an important strategic challenge," concluded Choi.

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About INFORMS and Information Systems Research

Information Systems research is a premier peer-reviewed scholarly journal focused on the latest theory, research and intellectual development to advance knowledge about the effective and efficient utilization of information technology. It is published by INFORMS, the leading international association for operations research and analytics professionals. More information is available at http://www.informs.org or @informs.

Contact:

Ashley Smith
443-757-3578
asmith@informs.org

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