Friday, July 30, 2010

German e-book market slow to grow

Publishers, booksellers and industry insiders agree: the e-book is set to turn the entire industry on its head. But for the moment, sales figures for e-books in Germany are not reflecting this trend.

Yesterday, the world's largest online book retailer, Amazon.com, announced it was launching a newer version of the Kindle, at an even cheaper price -- $139 (107 euros). The company says the e-book reader will start shipping to its American customers at the end of August.

This aggressive move further into the e-book market comes just a week after Amazon.com also announced that it had sold more digital books than hardbacks in the second quarter of 2010.

From April to June, the company sold 43 percent more digital books for its Kindle handheld device than hardback books, nearly three years after the electronic format became available. Total e-book sales tripled from the first half of 2009 to the first half of 2010.

However, despite the rapid growth in the United States, in Germany, one of the continent's biggest book markets, uptake of e-books has been much slower.

Around 25,000 e-book titles are listed on the Libreka site - an online e-book shop of the German Booksellers’ Association. However, compared to the 1.2 million printed books available on the German market, this is a very small number. It reflects the current reality of the state of the German e-book market.

According to Roland Schild, the CEO of Libreka, there are two main reasons why the German e-book market share is still well under one percent. The first is that the range of e-book bestsellers is "still not wide enough." The second is that "for a long time we didn't have an adequate reading device," although "now we have the iPad, and we know that this year there will be several more coming out of the major suppliers' development labs."

To read more: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5847861,00.html

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