Screen Shot 2012 03 17 at 6 16 18 PM

Kelly Gallagher, VP Publishing Services, RR Bowker:  Collecting ebook data since 2009.

In the US: Kindle 1 was the game changer, especially with its wi-fi ability.  iPad was a game changer in that opened ereading to people other than the dedicated reader.  Causing a lot of disruption in reading and lowering some of the reading rates.  As late as January 2010 the PC was the number 1 reading address in the US.  With the onset of kindle fire and ipad the dedicated ereader share is going down.  Today, PC is under 10 percent.  As of today, 13% of book buyers have purchased an ebook.  Growth rate of ebook readers has changed from exponential to incremental and will probably continue on an incremental level.  Mystery and Romance market have seen the biggest groth in ereading.  In children’s market penetration has not exceeded 5% because no suitable devices for kids yet.

35% of ebook buyers are heavy book buyer (4 books a month) and they purchase 60% of the ebooks and contribute 48% of the revenue.  Expects good growth in the US, but it will be incremental growth only.  Core ebook customers are now starting to buy more print.

Overseas:  did a baseline study in 10 core world regtions – Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, Spain, UK and USA.  Sampled over 1,000 people in each country.

Ebook penetration: ranges from 2% in India to 19% in Australia.  Japan is 6%, Spain 8%, South Korea 12%, 16% US, 17% UK.  Real growth internationally and the UK and Australia have passed the US in % of people buying an ebook in last 6 months.  Japan and France have no significant uptake. In emerging world countries is a huge increase in uptake of free ebooks, almost double the purchased amount.  Japan and France are also the lowest for free ebook uptake.  Japan is actually on a downward trend in reading on digital devices.

For the most part other countries have caught up to the US in terms of ebook penetration.  More technology in a country does not equate to higher ebook penetration, witness Japan and France.

In the US piracy is not the problem that we thought it would be given the experience of the music industry.

In most countries people who have not bought ebooks say they are planning to buy one in the near future.

No interest in ebooks, US 59%, Austrlaia 45%, Germany 56%, UK 52%, Japan 72%, France 66%.

Fiction rules the day as far as ebook downloads, except for South Korea.  For academic/text markets, highest penetration is in Brazil, India, South Korea where it ranges from 70 to 80%, while it is only about 22% in the US.  Educational and business content has the strongest appeal in emerging economies.

Devices: is a crowded market overseas where are are many indigenous devices.  Wit PC h the exception of the US and UK, the PC is the number one ereading device. Smartphone use is very big is some countries and then tablets, followed by ereaders.

As far as content providers, in many countries it is wide open and there is no dominant content provider.

Outside of the US the preferred download apps (Kindle, kobo, etc) are pretty wide open.  Kobo is pretty small.


  1. They’ve had Kindles on sale locally for $99.

    And Deals Direct an ebook reader for $69 and Kogan, etc.

    So the former is less than the price of 2 hardbacks, the latter less than the price of two trade paperbacks in shops here.

    So percentage here would be not at all surprising given ease of access at major otlets now.

  2. I’d be interested to see how this correlates with physical book prices. Australia is known for having unusually costly books and currently has a strong dollar, which means I can buy a book from amazon for 10% to 30% the cost of a paper version.

    A lot of heavy readers have started importing paperbacks directly from the uk. That’s probably a sign that local pricing is a tad high.

  3. I don’t know if it’s the author (I read Paul’s article from the last issue, too) or the e-newsletter, but it’s irritating to see typos throughout a periodical that targets the publishing community. (This isn’t necessarily for public consumption: I just wish to say that this reader likes good, edited articles.)

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail