E-Reader market up 400% in 2010

The Western European e-book market continues to gain traction, growing by over 400% in 2010 to exceed ten million paid-for books. It is on track to achieve unit sales of 32 million this year, according to the latest research.

The UK continues to dominate the European market for e-readers, generating close to half of all Western European e-book spend last year, stated a new European e-book report from Futuresource Consulting.

Yet this is despite the UK only accounting for 15% of the region’s physical book spend. The country is on track to achieve sales of £100 million this year and over 5% of total UK consumer spending on e-books.

“During the last 12 months there has been a notable change in the industry’s attitude towards e-books, with publishers and retailers alike underlining the importance of a digital revenue stream to help offset the slow decline of the previously stable Western European physical book market,” commented Fiona Hoy, market analyst at Futuresource Consulting.

“And despite all this rapid growth in demand for e-books in Western Europe, the market is still in its infancy, representing less than 1% of total consumer spending on books [including paper]. Moving forward, there are enormous opportunities within the market and our forecasts show Western European e-book revenues will reach Euro 1.6 billion by 2015, accounting for 15% of total book spend and representing one out of every five books sold in the region,” Hoy continued.

Hoy added that the introduction of Amazon’s e-reading device and Kindle Store to the UK during August 2010 was a key catalyst behind the UK’s strong growth. She explained: “Within a five month period Amazon sold close to 400,000 Kindle devices and achieved e-book sales in the region of £20 million. Amazon not only launched a premium brand e-reading device into a market that had previously been fragmented with unbranded dedicated devices, but also provided an extensive catalogue of e-book titles at loss-leading price points from key publishers. In addition, aggressive aspirational TV and print advertising campaigns continue to drive demand.”

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