In just nine short years, eBook sales will dominate the market. So says a survey from the Frankfurt Book Fair. Conducted last month, the survey polled 840 industry experts in connection with the fair, scheduled to take place October 14-18 this year.
The Frankfurt Book Fair is well known as the annual international meeting place for thousands of publishing industry professionals, a sort of RWA Nationals for agents, editors, publishers, film producers, and others who attend to buy, promote, and sell media and foreign rights.
Around half of those who responded to the survey said 2018 was the “turning point”, up about 10 percentage points on the same survey last year. In 2008, 27% were of the opinion that digital would never overtake print – now that number is only 22%.
The bullish prediction comes despite the majority of respondents admitting digital products still comprised just a fraction of overall sales – 60% esimated that “considerably less than 10% of their revenue” would come from digital sources this year – though this is expected to grow sharply over the next couple of years.
The vast majority – 80% – said they embraced “the radical change” digitisation brings about, rather than seeing it as a threat to the old guard.
For those who can afford Christmas this year, and in a recession of this magnitude that doesn’t include everyone, 1 in 5 gift recipients could find an eReader device under the tree.
In a study by Gadgetology, commissioned by electronics website Retrevo, 21% of respondents stated that they would be buying an eBook reader this season. If the study is any guide, it appears that Kindle could be the big winner of such a buying spree, with 62% of prospective buyers leaning toward Amazon’s reader, versus 32% who expressed interest in buying one from Sony, and only 6% shopping among the multitude of other readers hitting the market this year.
Other findings from the study:
More men than women planned to purchase an eReader this Christmas (26% to 17%).
69% of prospective buyers were under the age of 35. Only 10% of those above the age of 45 planned to buy one.
Those with household incomes of $100K-$200K (33%) were twice as likely to state they would be buying an eReader, than those in the $50K to $100K bracket (16%). No word if those making less than $50K could afford one.
Prospective buyers in the Northeast region of the U.S. outnumbered buyers in the West by a margin of 2:1.
You’ll find more info on the study at Retrevo, as well as some fairly cool graphs to illustrate the above statistics.
Just when you think the eReader market couldn’t get any more crowded, next month consumers in the U.S. will have yet another dedicated eBook device to choose from. This one, however, has a little more juice going for it. Reports The New York Times:
The budding market for electronic reading devices is about to get two powerful new entrants: Best Buy and Verizon.
On Wednesday, iRex Technologies, a spinoff of Royal Philips Electronics that already makes one of Europe’s best-known e-readers, plans to announce that it is entering the United States market with a $399 touch-screen e-reader.
Owners of the new iRex DR800SG will be able to buy digital books and newspapers wirelessly over the 3G network of Verizon, which is joining AT&T and Sprint in supporting such devices. And by next month, the iRex will be sold at a few hundred Best Buy stores, along with the Sony Reader and similar products.
The iRex comes with an 8.1 touch screen, a significant advantage over current Kindle models. It will come preloaded with links to Barnes & Noble’s eBookstore. iRex owners will also be able to buy books in ePub format.
Book retailer Barnes & Noble, which launched its eBookstore in July, announced Monday that 1 million+ visitors to the site have downloaded its free B&N Bookstore and B&N eReader apps for the iPhone and iPod touch. In addition, the chain has logged 2 million “complimentary AT&T Wi-Fi Sessions,” meaning that shoppers have used the apps to:
Brows bestsellers and B&N Recommends lists, new releases or watch video interviews with authors.
Check the events calendar for celebrity book signings, readings, musical performances and children`s Storytimes.
Find the closest Barnes & Noble, get maps and directions.
Use the iPhone`s camera to snap a photo of a front cover on a book, CD or DVD and retrieve product details, editorial reviews, and customer ratings
Find and reserve copies of books at the nearest store.
I won’t sport with your tolerance for corporate press releases and quote excited Barnes & Noble talking heads. Instead, here is a link to the full press release on Reuters.
I don’t know about you, but the sheer number of press releases for new eBook readers is leaving me dizzy and wanting to take a nap. Good thing there’s Kindle Review, which recently posted an exhaustive list of readers currently for sale on the market. You may decide you don’t need a reader at all, preferring a netbook, iPhone, or plain old vanilla laptop for your eBook reading pleasure, but at least with this list you’ll know what you’re missing.
Wondering What Buyers Want Most in an eBook Reader?
File it under the category of duh, but Internet connectivity, longer battery life, and email capabilities are the most requested features current and future buyers of dedicated eBook readers would like the devices to have. This, according to a survey by in-stat.com. Among the survey’s other findings:
Amazon is the leading brand of eBook owned.
The largest percentage of eBook owners (45.5%) spend between $9 and $20 a month on eBook content.
Eleven percent of total survey respondents said they planned to purchase an eBook over the next 12 months.
No mention in the company’s press release, of how color screens rank in the survey.
Publisher’s Weekly reports that Kindle downloads, as a share of the eBook market are on the rise.
Of e-book downloads through July, 40% were made to computers, down from 48% at the end of the first quarter. Quickly gaining in market share over the summer were downloads to the Kindle. This was especially true in July, when downloads to computers plunged, while downloads to the Kindle soared. As a result, in July, for the first time in PubTrack’s monthly survey of consumers, Kindle downloads topped computers, accounting for 45% of all e-book downloads in the month.
And while Sony created a lot of buzz last week with the announcement of its new wireless device…it has lots of ground to cover before it catches the Kindle, holding only a 6% market share at the end of July.
Percentages of eBooks Sold by Format
The numbers suggest that eBook’s first consumer class, those earliest adopters who read them on a computer, likely because eBook reader choices were limited and even more expensive than they are now, are gradually being overtaken. Kindle and Sony eReader buyers tend to be older and more affluent than those who purchase books in other formats, but could it be that we are finally seeing the formation of a new consumer class? Are the earliest adopters merely trading up, or do we have an infusion of virgin eBook buyers who don’t require paper pulp to enjoy books?
One Contradictory Note to the Story Above…
I’ve noticed other bloggers questioning the source for the percentages above, since Amazon does not release it’s sales figures for the Kindle. Though it’s anecdotal, numbers from independent eBook retailer Books on Board show a different story. In a separate PW article, founder Bob LiVolsi…
….points out that despite the growing popularity of dedicated digital readers like the Sony Reader, the Cybook or even the iPhone, 60% of Books on Board customers download their e-books to their personal computers to read. He said about 20% use dedicated reading devices and about 15% use mobile devices and phones. And the use of Netbooks, small laptops with full computing functionality, is also growing quickly.
Though Books on Board doesn’t sell eBooks for the Kindle, this does gesture toward a connection between loyal eBook readers and computer formats.