Tag Archives: ebooks

Digital Book Revenues Accounted for 35% of the UK Publishing Market in 2014


The UK Publishers Association has tallied up the numbers for the book market in the United Kingdom in 2014, and the results are pleasant reading for ebook publishers, but not so for print book publishers. Revenues from digital products accounted for 35% of the total market in the UK in 2014. The total market was GBP 4.3 billion, down 2% from previous year. The rapid growth in sales of ebooks couldn’t compensate the decline of printed books in the UK.

Highlights from the Publishers Association report:

– Fiction is still the hottest ebook category with sales increasing to 37% of total ebook market value.
– Children’s books (up 36%) – with the sector up 11% overall.
– Academic textbooks (up 17%) now at 24% of sector sales.
– Audiobook downloads up 24% from previous year.
– Educational materials for schools up 20%.

Apple iPad, ebook, eyeglasses, books,

We have been closely following the ebook market for five years (Klaava Media is a non-fiction ebook publisher), and it still hasn’t stopped surprising us. A year ago, growth in the U.S., the ebook market leader showed first signs of slowing down. Early 2015 proved it to be worse than that, because ebook revenues decreased for the first time since 2007.

In other parts of the world, however, it is completely different situation. In many countries, annual ebook growth numbers are huge, because digital market share from total book market can be anywhere from 1 to 10%. Countries, such as Germany, Netherlands and France are now experiencing high growth rates because large product selection in digital format is available for readers and competing retail systems, like Amazon, Apple iBooks, Google Play and Tolino fight for digital customers.

Why is the US ebook market so different to the rest of the world?

Some analysts have already voted for the return of agency pricing in the US that has caused somewhat higher prices, slowing down sales of ebooks. We don’t believe it is the reason for the US market setback. The real reason is a natural cycle of the new, strongly developing tech/media market.

First wave:
Amazon Kindle ereader started this wave in 2007. It was a new device designed solely for reading ebooks. The Kindle and low-cost Kindle ebooks were the reason why the first wave was successful in the English-language markets. Since then, many other E ink ereader brands have been introduced, but the sales of pure ereader devices have been declining for some time already.

Second wave:
Tablets and phablets. More and more people are enjoying digital books because they are able to read books on a tablet or on a large-screen smartphone they already have. Outside English-language markets, the growth of ebooks really took off with tablets and it continues with the success of phablets.

Third wave:
Ebooks will develop further. Currently, ebooks are more or less just like their print book cousins, only the layout may slightly differ. Especially, non-fiction books, textbooks, academic books, and online publications will benefit from the new possibilities digital technology allows for books, such as video, audio, and interactivity.

EPUB3, Apple iBooks and to some extent Kindle book formats already allow creating such books, but compatibility with reader devices and apps is poor at the moment. This is where we will see all kinds of successful and less successful trials in the next few years. Some of them will stick and show the way to the future of book.

The U.S., UK or any other market hasn’t yet moved to the third wave (or beyond). When it happens, expect strong growth for media we used to call books.

Chinese Have Quickly Adopted Ebooks on Mobile Devices


Those were the days when people in China had to go out on the streets to read the news that were posted on walls. Today, more Chinese connect to Internet services than in any other country. Chinese have also widely adopted large screen smartphones. Perhaps one thing leads to another, but in any case, reading ebooks is now more popular than reading paper books in China.

chenzen, china boookstore by robert scoble
A bookstore in Chenzen, China by Robert Scoble on Flickr.

The Chinese government news site reported on a study that was conducted by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication in September 2014. The organization surveyed 35 000 adults across China about their reading habits. The highlights of the survey results are:

– 58.1% of Chinese adults read digital books in 2014, and 58% read print books.
– Ebooks were up 8%, but reading paper books grew only 0.2%.
– 51.8% read on mobile phones, while 49.4% used a computer for reading.
– Only 5.3% used an e-reader, and 9.9% a tablet.
– Reading online took about 55 minutes each day on average, whereas printed books got citizens’ attention for 19 minutes and newspapers for 19 minutes as well.
– 67.6% of Chinese between 18 and 39 years had adopted digital reading habits.

The numbers are impressive for ebooks. China may be the first market where reading ebooks became more popular than reading paper books. Sales of ebooks in China compared with the sales of printed books is another matter. The sales of digital goods, such as music and movies lags behind the sales of respective physical goods, and books are no exception during the next few years.

New Purchase Options for Scandinavian Ebook Readers


Amazon dominates many ebook markets across the globe, but there are some corners of the world where local ebook stores thrive. Scandinavia (in this case, only Sweden, Norway and Finland) is not an easy market for a large international company like Amazon to enter because every country has its own language and currency, and above all, the markets are fairly small. Adlibris is the largest Scandinavian online bookstore that also offers a large selection of ebooks.
adlibris ebooks, norge screen shot
At the moment, Swedish customers may choose from 25 000 ebooks, Norwegians have a selection of 23 000 ebooks and Finns don’t yet know how many ebooks there are, because Adlibris’ Finnish ebookstore is waiting for its official launch (ebooks are already available, though). Vast majority of available ebooks at Adlibris are published in Swedish or in Norwegian.

Here are the Adlibris bookstores where Scandinavian customers can shop in their local language and currency.

Montreal Airport Promotes Local Authors by Providing Ebooks to Travelers


For many travelers, spending hours on an airplane is valuable time because it means a long uninterrupted period for reading books. Earlier, travelers used to buy pocketbooks from airport bookshops but nowadays ereaders or tablets carry our books. Montreal Trudeau airport in Canada has made it easy for travelers to discover ebooks before flight.

montreal airport ebooks, Lire vous transport

Ebooks for travelers at Montreal airport are available on Lire vous transporte web site. The service was launched in early April 201. In the beginning, the selection is only 35 French-language books. It is possible to read a sample of each book for free online or download a PDF file for offline reading. If the book is a good read, local people can borrow it as an ebook from Montreal or Quebec public library. Others can buy the book.

There is not much in the Lire vous transporte program that a savvy ebook reader couldn’t achieve without the service, but the fact that a large airport promotes local authors and reminds travelers to read ebooks is always nice

Book Subscription Service Oyster Opens a Bookstore for Ebook Downloads


Oyster, an online service that lets you read as many books as you have time for a monthly fee of $10, has opened a bookstore where ebooks can be downloaded for offline reading. Oyster doesn’t tell how many books it has for sale, but proudly states that the big five publishers in the US (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster) among many others are on board.
oyster bookstore ebook downloads, offline reading
Oyster’s bookstore is a convenient place to shop for existing subscription customers who occasionally want to purchase a book in order to make sure it is always accessible. For example, travel guidebooks fall into this category because you can’t assume you are connected to the Internet when on the road. Another thing is if Oyster can (or wants to) compete against Amazon, Apple iBooks, Google Play Books or Kobo purely as an ebook store.

Other ebook subscription services that let you read books for a low monthly fee are, for instance, 24 Symbols and Scribd.

French book lovers are adopting ebooks


France has a long and wifely appreciated literary tradition, but some observers have asked will it survive if the nation doesn’t adopt new technologies and business models. In fact, one of the pioneers of e-reading comes from France: Bookeen. The Paris-based company has manufactured popular Cybook ereaders for many years. Adoption of ebooks is actually pretty high in France as a recent infographics put together by Salon Du Livre shows.

salon du livre infographic

Here are some highlights from the Salon du Livre infographic (Salon du Livre is a large book event in Paris that was held in 2015 at the end of March).
– 18% of French read ebooks.
– 90% of ebook readers use an ereader device, 71% a tablet, 45% a computer and 32% a smartphone.
– 80% of 15-24 year old French are readers.
– 70% of French read at least one a year.
– Those who read books, are active: they read 15 books per year on average
– 80 000 people are directly employed by book business (the population of France was 66 million in 2014)

If you are planning to visit France, download this guide to Southern France.

Strong Growth for Ebooks in Libraries in 2014


Overdrive is a large-scale ebook distribution system that powers many libraries and educational institutions in North America and Europe. The company reports that 2014 was another record year for its ebook business: in 2014, ebook checkouts in libraries and schools increased 33% from 2013. The total number of ebook checkouts was 137 million in 2014.
overdrive ebook system at helmet library
Two trends can be highlighted from the 2014 statistics provided by Overdrive. Mobile devices – primarily tablets and smartphones – have quickly become the dominant reading platform. Majority of ebook checkouts already take place on mobile devices. Reading of ebooks continues to grow strongly, even though in the U.S., ebook sales is growing only moderately after multiple years of hyper growth.

Total digital titles borrowed from libraries & schools: 137 million (+33% over 2013)
Tablets and smartphones now account for 52% of all checkouts
Mobile devices account 64% of all traffic (+100% over 2013)
Percentage of visits on tablet (43%), smartphone (21%), desktop (36% – down from 48% in 2013),
eBook circulation: 105 million (+32%)
Digital Audiobook circulation: 32 million (+38%)
Streaming video circulation (+46%)
OverDrive Read circulation (+124%)

The most popular nonfiction titles borrowed from Overdrive-powered libraries in 2014 were:

Adult nonfiction eBook: Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand, Random House Publishing Group
Adult nonfiction audiobook: Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand, Books on Tape
Children/YA nonfiction eBook: Heaven is for Real for Kids, Todd Burpo, Thomas Nelson

Traveling light, but loaded with books thanks to a small and affordable ereader


Every traveler has to make decisions on what to carry with him or her on a trip. Electronic devices tend to be small, whereas books tend to take space and can be heavy. Yet, if I think about all the gadgets I’d like to pack with me on a trip – cameras, a tablet, phones, a laptop, an ereader and chargers for everyone of them – something usually has to go. Any lighter and smaller products that can help space are always welcome.
energy ereader e4 mini front
Energy Ereader E4 Mini is one of the smallest and budget-friendliest ereaders I have discovered so far.

The E4 Mini has 4.3-inch E ink screen in 600×800 resolution that can display 16 scales of gray. EPUB, PDF, TXT, HTML, RTF and MOBI ebooks can be opened in this tiny ereader. Thousands of ebooks can be stored on a microSD memory card.

That’s it, there is no wireless connectivity, touch screen or any other advanced features, because the price at the vendor’s online store is only 37 euros (about USD 42).
Energy Ereader E4 Mini
Why carry an ereader on a trip if you already have a smartphone or tablet that you can use for reading? Battery life. Ereaders, and especially the Energy E4 Mini, are simple devices that don’t consume power like tablets and smartphones do. Less functionality, less power, less cost.

The screen in the E4 Mini is about the same size as many phone screens (or even smaller), but if the ereader’s battery lasts up to a month, and you have several years worth of books on the device, the investment is worth considering.

Energy has larger and more advanced ereaders in their product range. For instance, Energy Ereader Pro comes with touch screen, wireless connectivity, and backlight. The screen size is 6 inches in 758 × 1024 resolution.
The Pro model is priced at 119 euros (about USD 136) at the vendor’s online store.
energy ereader pro front