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New report highlights ‘disparate realities’ in world ebook market

A new global ebook report by industry consultant Rüdiger Wischenbart has argued there is ‘no cohesive single interpretation’ of the world ebook market given the ‘disparate realities’ in different markets, reports Publishing Perspectives.

The reports considers ebook markets in the UK, US, China, Brazil and Mexico, as well as a ‘granular’ examination of several European book markets.

In the report’s executive summary, Wischenbart writes that ‘no one size, or angle, alone fits divergent economic fundamentals, market size, or consumer preferences’.

The report found that the uptake of ebooks in the UK and North America has been sliding since 2013, when ebooks represented 15-25% of the largest publishers’ overall sales, with self-published ebooks (particularly romance, fantasy and science-fiction) reportedly overtaking sales of the big five publishers. In Western Europe, however, ebook sales plateaued at ‘well under 10%’ of trade sales, and were ‘never up to the point of compensating for loss in print’ sales post-2008.

Among the emerging economies, China has seen ‘a unique and continuous rise in book sales’, with consumers only recently willing to pay for ebooks on a significant scale. Economic difficulties have limited the growth of ebooks in Brazil and Mexico, with cuts to government programs supporting digital educational innovation.

The report also considers the challenges facing book publishers from global technology companies and the digital transformation of the content and media industries, noting that Amazon’s recent push for globalisation has seen the company’s share of revenue from markets outside of the US increase from eight percent in 2010 to 24% in 2016.

The report is available for purchase here.


Category: International news