News

Amazon has '79% of e-book market in UK'

An Ofcom study into consumers' digital consumption has found that Amazon has a dominant 79% share of the e-book market in the UK.

The survey, carried out between March-May 2013, has revealed 79% of people who have downloaded, accessed or shared e-books in the past three months used Amazon's Kindle platform—demonstrating the company’s major dominance in the UK e-book market.

Apple’s iBookstore was the second most-used e-book platform, with 9% of respondents saying that was their preferred choice. Google’s search engine was the third most popular platform, used by 8% of people.

Meanwhile, Google Play and eBooks.com both had a 6% share of the market according to the survey, while 5% respondents accessed or downloaded e-books from email, 5% from Kobo and 4% through Facebook. According to the survey Waterstones has a 3% share of the UK e-book market, along with uTorrent, a platform for Microsoft Windows and Android.

Barnes & Noble’s Nook platform, which launched in the UK last September, was not featured in the top ten of the most popular platforms used to read e-books.

The report was carried out by Kantar Media on behalf of Ofcom as part of the regulator’s work on online copyright infringement and covered digital books, games, music, film, Television and computer software.

The study also showed that downloading e-books had decreased by 2% from 13% to 11% when the responders had last been asked between November 2012 and January 2013. However, overall e-book consumption remained at 13%, with just 1% of e-books shared online.

Of those who had downloaded, accessed of shared  e-books online, 49% had paid for all of them, while 31% had consumed all of them for free.

Meanwhile, 37% of the total UK population claimed to have spent any money on books in the past three months. This was an 8% decrease in the previous three months, which was during the Christmas season. Of those recently surveyed, 76% of their spend went on physical, 14% was attributed to merchandise and 10% to digital purchases.

Altogether, it is estimated that £525m was spent on books in the three months period surveyed, equating to £9.79 for every person in the UK, or £26.19 for people actively buying books.

Consumers willingness to pay for e-books decreased as the price rose, the survey revealed. A large majority of 81% indicated they would be prepared to pay at an entry price of £2 for an e-book. But this fell to 9% for a £10 price-tag. The average price respondents were willing to pay for an e-book was £3.74.

The results also showed people were unwilling to spend more for a subscription to e-books, with 43% of people saying they were prepared to pay at an entry price of £5, falling to 5% at £15.

The average price respondents were willing to pay for a monthly subscription of £3.40 was actually slightly lower than for a single book download (£3.74).

The survey estimated that 1% of UK internet users downloaded or accessed at least one e-book illegally over the period March to May 2013, which equated to 9% of those who consumed books online. E-book online copyright infringers were altogether responsible for illegally downloading or accessing an estimated 10% of all e-books consumed on the internet, the survey said.

However, those who consumed any e-books illegally claimed to spend more—£27.46—on average on digital and physical books than those who accessed all their e-books legally, who claimed to spent £23.77 on average.

The Kantar Media survey was taken from 631 people who said they had downloaded, accessed or shared e-books in the past 3 months, out of the total 5,734 surveyed."
 

Comments: Scroll down for the latest comments and to have your say

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Pricing is a factor as e-reading devices penetrate further into markets around the world. The primary change thus far has been in commercial fiction. The numbers of ebooks to print is shifting but not at the rate of previous years.

Publishers are selling fewer mass market books because the retail space is not abundant and the ebook pricing is very close to that of mass market books especially premium editions which many U.S. publishers like because the format allows for a higher price point.

Robert Gottlieb
Chairman
Trident Media Group, LLC
www.tridentmediagroup.com
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I am not surprised by the comment that potential sales drop off as price rises. Many publishers have completely unrealistic price expectations of what they charge for back catalogue ebooks. This is one of the areas you explore in the Bookseller ebook survey I have recently completed, and await the results with interest.

Publishers charging £5+ for back catalogue fiction ebooks are not living in the real world, especially as many prospective purchasers already have a physical copy and are looking for an electronic copy as well. This is where the Amazon ebook scheme they have recently launched in the US could give them even more dominance. I know a couple of niche publishers already give you a free epub version with the physical book, but this is something which needs to be happening on every new book especially in fiction if we are going to see a live outside luxury first edition hardbacks within a few years. Just look at the CD single, now almost completely disappeared.

With regard to pricing I feel Amazon and the authors who have reclaimed their back catalogue (mainly because they have stopped writing so no new deals) so self publishing on their actually have a much more realistic view of pricing at the 99p to £1.99 range and this is where we will have to shift to if we don't want to see piracy grow even more. The DVDs with hundreds of copies of dubiously scanned books are out there on ebay etc for a few pounds or download for free. We have to demonstrate to customers we are offering value for money.

This needs to include proof reading when you release auto scanned copies of older books where no electronic files exist. I have seen many of these and they are growing in number where they are being sold on Amazon, but even just a single read through would have allowed many blatant typos and formatting errors to be corrected.

I am not surprised by the comment that potential sales drop off as price rises. Many publishers have completely unrealistic price expectations of what they charge for back catalogue ebooks. This is one of the areas you explore in the Bookseller ebook survey I have recently completed, and await the results with interest.

Publishers charging £5+ for back catalogue fiction ebooks are not living in the real world, especially as many prospective purchasers already have a physical copy and are looking for an electronic copy as well. This is where the Amazon ebook scheme they have recently launched in the US could give them even more dominance. I know a couple of niche publishers already give you a free epub version with the physical book, but this is something which needs to be happening on every new book especially in fiction if we are going to see a live outside luxury first edition hardbacks within a few years. Just look at the CD single, now almost completely disappeared.

With regard to pricing I feel Amazon and the authors who have reclaimed their back catalogue (mainly because they have stopped writing so no new deals) so self publishing on their actually have a much more realistic view of pricing at the 99p to £1.99 range and this is where we will have to shift to if we don't want to see piracy grow even more. The DVDs with hundreds of copies of dubiously scanned books are out there on ebay etc for a few pounds or download for free. We have to demonstrate to customers we are offering value for money.

This needs to include proof reading when you release auto scanned copies of older books where no electronic files exist. I have seen many of these and they are growing in number where they are being sold on Amazon, but even just a single read through would have allowed many blatant typos and formatting errors to be corrected.

Pricing is a factor as e-reading devices penetrate further into markets around the world. The primary change thus far has been in commercial fiction. The numbers of ebooks to print is shifting but not at the rate of previous years.

Publishers are selling fewer mass market books because the retail space is not abundant and the ebook pricing is very close to that of mass market books especially premium editions which many U.S. publishers like because the format allows for a higher price point.

Robert Gottlieb
Chairman
Trident Media Group, LLC
www.tridentmediagroup.com
Like us on Facebook

I am not surprised by the comment that potential sales drop off as price rises. Many publishers have completely unrealistic price expectations of what they charge for back catalogue ebooks. This is one of the areas you explore in the Bookseller ebook survey I have recently completed, and await the results with interest.

Publishers charging £5+ for back catalogue fiction ebooks are not living in the real world, especially as many prospective purchasers already have a physical copy and are looking for an electronic copy as well. This is where the Amazon ebook scheme they have recently launched in the US could give them even more dominance. I know a couple of niche publishers already give you a free epub version with the physical book, but this is something which needs to be happening on every new book especially in fiction if we are going to see a live outside luxury first edition hardbacks within a few years. Just look at the CD single, now almost completely disappeared.

With regard to pricing I feel Amazon and the authors who have reclaimed their back catalogue (mainly because they have stopped writing so no new deals) so self publishing on their actually have a much more realistic view of pricing at the 99p to £1.99 range and this is where we will have to shift to if we don't want to see piracy grow even more. The DVDs with hundreds of copies of dubiously scanned books are out there on ebay etc for a few pounds or download for free. We have to demonstrate to customers we are offering value for money.

This needs to include proof reading when you release auto scanned copies of older books where no electronic files exist. I have seen many of these and they are growing in number where they are being sold on Amazon, but even just a single read through would have allowed many blatant typos and formatting errors to be corrected.