It's amazing to see how quickly western Europeans are adopting ebook readers and content. According to Futuresource Consulting, a UK based firm, the Western European e-book market is seeing growth by over 400% in 2010 to exceed ten million paid-for books, and on track to achieve unit sales of 32 million this year. Here is more interesting data from Futuresource:
The UK continues to dominate the European market and generated close to half of all Western European e-book spend last year, this despite only accounting for 15% of the region's physical book spend. The country is on track to achieve sales of ?100m this year and over 5% of total UK consumer spending on books.
"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," says Fiona Hoy, Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. "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 which 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."
In Germany, which has the highest per capita spend on books in Western Europe - more than twice that of the UK - the opportunity for e-books is highly favourable, although local book pricing laws will restrict companies from replicating the loss leading pricing strategies that have been implemented in the UK and US.
With the installed base of dedicated e-reading devices in Germany currently below 1% and the market relying heavily on the tablet as an e-reading device, the country is primed for both hardware and content opportunities.
"By 2015 the tablet market will account for close to half of all paid-for e-book sales in Germany, compared to around one in three in the UK and France," says Hoy. "The Kindle store launched into the market during the first half of 2011, though consumer demand for devices and content has so far been relatively low, in part due to low consumer awareness. However, strong promotional campaigns in Q4 will help stimulate demand and convert the market potential into real revenues."
For many countries across the region - including Italy and Spain - 2010 was the first full year that e-readers were readily available at retail. However, a lack of local language titles and limited paid-for e-book services acted as key obstacles to legitimate paid-for e-book market growth. Since then, local language content and demand has started to develop; and combined with the strength of Amazon and Apple's iBookstore for both the iPad and smartphone market, the significance of the Western European market on the world stage will continue to develop.
Check out our eBook Reader reviews:
Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch Reader
Barnes & Noble Nookcolor
Sony Reader Touch Edition PRS-650
Sony Pocket Edition PRS-350
Amazon Kindle 3
Amazon Kindle DX Graphite
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