Digital media, specifically e-Books, have seen a tremendous following leading to substantial growth in the e-book market. And while some would say that the US and Canada are slowing down on the demand, a claim which is highly debatable based upon the number of e-books which are being integrated into the school system via Chromebook, this is not true for other countries. Europe and Russia are accelerating in the demand with percentages reaching 25% for some countries.
European countries have the most growing, as Germany reports that 25% of the population reads an e-Book daily. And while you may think that this is a reflection to the growing smartphone and mobile devices, statistics show that nearly half of the populace uses laptops to read their books. Granted, 38% do use smartphones and other devices to read their books with the remainder using various tablets such as Kindle or Tolino, but more than often, the reader is a standard computer. The country is, as stated by Alexander Skipis (German Bookseller and Publishers Association Managing Director) “a nation of readers”.
Running close to the growth of Germany Poland has seen a 28% growth in its e-book market from 2013. Biblioteka Analiz research states that this is only a $16.3 of the entire publishing industry, but if one considers that the increase is over a quarter, it is quite substantial. Polish books are taxed at 23% while print is only 5%, but this has not slowed the demand. It seems that digital ease of access is preferred in this case to a lower tax bracket.
In Italy, the market rose 8.2% over the population of the country. This is 4.5 million people. This does not consider the large tourist population that download and read e-books. Such figuring would surely increase the percentages.
Although Germany may have the second largest book industry in the world, does not mean that it has the largest reader audience. Per population ratio, the UK boasts 30% of all book units sold as being in e-Book format. To put this into numbers, the sales are equivocal to a £2.2 billion yield, an increase by 4% from 2013. And while there are no specific numbers do not state the population but rather the sales, one can conclude, through the sale yield data, that much of the UK populace has at some point purchased and read books digitally.
Russia’s e-Book demand has shown a constant growth over the past four years with numbers. When surveyed by Deloitte, 44% of the people surveyed said that they prefer e-books to the traditional paper format. Furthermore, the survey showed that the market is mainly younger readers, 16-19, accounting for 88%.
What does this mean for the book industry?
For e-book publishers, the numbers are promising. The increased growth shows that the demand is still rising and that the potential for high ROIs still exist. For traditional publishing, as Tim Walker, President of the Bookseller Association (UK) states, the 95% market share of e-commerce ebooks sales in the UK is a blow to companies like Barnes & Noble. Regardless of the delivery, authors and publishers should be encouraged by the reported stats. The numbers show that the European and Russian populace is still reading, the fact that the e-book is in demand should not deter publication but encourage them, as we do live in a world of digital media, smartphones and tablets.