In a first for Israel, Bezeq customers will, starting Sunday, be able to enter the company's Bcloud cross-platform cloud service, register for the digital library, and download thousands of digital books from the Evrit application's archive.
The service will be available for a year free of charge for anyone who registers by January 17.
Evrit was the first and largest digital book venture in Israel. Its catalog contains thousands of Israeli and translated works, including bestsellers and new releases, as well as many other genres.
Ahead of the service's launch, Bezeq and research institute TNS conducted a study of reading habits in Israel. The study showed that despite the population being highly aware of digital books' existence, they still lag behind print book sales. Thirty-five percent said they read or would like to read digital books, and a majority of 80 percent acknowledged that purchasing a digital book is less expensive than a print book.
The average Israeli reads 12.2 books a year, the study found, with 49.6 percent of Israelis preferring to read in bed and 59.3 percent reading on the weekend.
The vast majority of respondents – 78.9 percent – said they prefer print books, while 2.5 percent read only digital books and 18.6 percent read both. Of those who prefer digital books, 34 percent cited the portability and convenience, 28 percent said it was more comfortable, 11.5 pointed to digital devices' compact size, and 10.7 percent noted the lower prices of digital books.
Despite the clear preference for print, respondents also showed an interest in digital books. Asked how likely they were to use an application offering a very wide range of books for free and without a limit on the number of books, 52.2 percent of respondents said they were certain or thought they would use it.
The survey also showed that those who read digital books do so on various devices – 42.2 percent use a tablet/iPad, 35.8 percent use their desktop computer, 26.5 percent use a laptop, 24.5 percent use a smartphone, and 10.9 percent use Amazon's Kindle device. (The total is higher than 100 percent because respondents could choose more than one answer.)