News

E-reader market doubles over Christmas in the UK

The e-reader market doubled over Christmas, according to statistics given out by the Publishers Association at its annual digital seminar.

The figures, compiled by Book Marketing Limited, showed that 7% of British adults received a dedicated e-reader over the festive period, bringing the total percentage of adults with e-book readers up to 13%, or 6.5m adults.

The Kindle was revealed as the most popular device with 24% of those who had downloaded an e-book saying they had used the Amazon e-book reader. The iPhone was revealed as playing an important role in the e-reading market: 19% of downloaders use one to read digital content, with 13% saying that it is the device they use most often.

However, out of all devices, the Kindle was the one rising fastest, having overtaken the Sony Reader as the dominant dedicated e-reader in users' hands. According to the stats 5% of adults said they'd received a Kindle, ahead of the 4% who said they'd acquired an iPad. Just 1% of the sample said they'd received a Sony Reader. The figures suggest that of the 6.5m adults who own e-readers, 3.5m own Kindles, while 2m own Sony e-Readers. It also points to 3m iPads having been sold in the UK in total, 2m over Christmas.

The survey also revealed that 61% of those who had received an e-reader for Christmas had downloaded a paid-for e-book, with the average debutant having bought 5.9 e-books. The figures, for new e-reader owners and average purchase, suggest that as many as 10m e-books have been sold in the UK since Christmas, compared with 18.6m print books sold over the same period.

Jo Henry, BML m.d. who presented the figures, said the absolute numbers could be skewed by the fact that the sample audience came from online users and heavier book buyers, and that consumers would download less over time. "It is likely that new people into the market (and anecdotally we know this happens) are very keen to download lots, then after a while realise they're not reading them, so they slow down," she told The Bookseller. But she said the market had been driven by the Kindle since Christmas.

Richard Mollet, chief executive of The Publishers Association, who gave the keynote address at the PA’s digital conference where the findings were announced said: "Our research shows that the Christmas period, despite bad weather and consumer anxiety, has had an important and positive effect on e-reading purchases." He added: "Publishers are tapping into this burgeoning digital market; they are renowned for their innovation and, as the digital space evolves at such remarkable speed, publishers are in a very strong position to forge ahead with their own digital products, ideas and investments."

The research covers the period from Christmas Day, 25th December 2010, to 31st January 2011. It sampled over 2,076 respondents, weighted to be representative of the national population.

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

By posting on this website you agree to the Bookseller comments policy. Comments go direct to live please be relevant, brief and definitely not abusive. Report any "unsuitable comments by clicking the links"

The roll out of readers has accelerated sharply. We have clearly moved on from "early adopter"on the curve and will soon be in a place where the majority of heavy book buyers/readers have a reader device of some sort.[2014?]. The implications for the sale of physical books in the High street are dramatic as is the potentially positive impact on how libraries could function .

Lies, Lies & Statistics.....

A sample of 2076 people all walking out of Amazon Head Office at the end of a working day....

I simply don't believe these numbers...

"Publishers are tapping into this burgeoning digital market; they are renowned for their innovation and, as the digital space evolves at such remarkable speed, publishers are in a very strong position to forge ahead with their own digital products, ideas and investments."

I don't think so. It looks to me like they are trying to kill digital products at birth with Agency Pricing and cutting their own throats at the same time. I didn't buy a Kindle for cheap books - simply for convenience. However the massive overpricing of eBooks (more expensive than hardback in a lot of cases) means that readers are going for independent authors to the detriment of established authors and publishers!

Not that there will be many libraries by then. Or bookshops. The government and Amazon in a race to impoverish society. Aided and abetted by readers who seem to want something for (almost) nothing.

Who actually cares about the bookshops ? Amazon and e books are more convenient in every way and do not diminish the content one jot. Readers are prepared to pay a fair price for e books but publishers have to remember that production and distribution costs are greatly reduced and this must be reflected in the price. If the reader wants a chunk of paper to hold hes going to have to pay for it.

I agree with Baldrick. Tough on the libraries though.

what is going on here? We're witnessing the decimation of a vital social resource and basic repository of knowledge and pleasure and what happens? - On one side we have the techno (dare I say downright lazy who don't want to strain their delicate shoulders by oohh, carrying books) freaks writing off the written product and on the other, well, where's the protest and outrage?

It's a sad Friday for me...

Posted elswhere but this is the more relevant area. If anyone doesn't think this is profoundly industry-changing please put their hands up.

"This week marked an astonishing turning point in the publishing industry. USA Today published it's usual list of the top 150 bestselling books...but for the first time, they included self-published work in their calculations. Kindle Nation founder Stephen Windwalker calls it the "fall of the Paper Curtain." As if that wasn't amazing enough on its own, it wasn't just that a self-published author cracked the list...but that the same author managed to get seven titles on it. Self-published author Amanda Hocking's books placed 16, 24, 31, 81, 133, and 146 on the list, outselling authors like Stephen King and Nora Roberts. Here's what Windwalker predicts will be happening very soon:

* One way or another, the fact that USA Today has opened its "bestseller list" gates to the great unwashed population of ebook and self-published authors will force the New York Times to do the same, lest its bestseller list be rendered irrelevant.
* Once the Times and other rags allow self-published books on their bestseller lists, they will have to start publishing reviews of self-published books.
* The prediction made here just a few weeks ago, that an indie author would be inducted by early 2012 into the "Kindle Million Club" alongside James Patterson, Stieg Larsson, and Nora Roberts, will prove to have been ridiculously conservative. Regardless of when Amazon makes the announcement, Hocking will pass the million-copy mark in Kindle books sold by the first day of Spring this year, and she will be joined by another dozen indie authors before the arrival of Spring in 2012.

I care about bookshops! Nothing can replace the lovely feeling of strolling into a bookshop and perusing the titles on offer. I don't disagree with the pull of ebooks and the ease of buying online - I've certainly pre-ordered books online when Amazon tempts me – but I would like to see bookshops survive and I make a concerted effort to support them by buying in store when I can. There are deals to be had in store too!

I have just produced my first published book that will be released in around 6 weeks time.Its all about my favorite subject myself!.

I am facinated by the mixed attitudes to the world of technology and the world that says all this new wave makes life easier...As Irvin Toffler stated in his book "future shock" we are accelerating so fast that that humans capacity to keep up with it produces this state he refered to as "future shock" that we all are very aware of any way, I just call it burn out and neuroses.

Its also amazing Toffler said this some 41 years ago.

Well have now not only passed through future shock in my case have dissapeared up my own rear passage.( I cant spell by the way)and I still seem to be on the plannet even if more confussed and bewildered each day.
I am for a miixed market and would support the notion of Kindkle books as to contest it would be futile thats called " inexorable Change" that you can ot contest. Its here, it stays, people or some of them want it we have bought in to it, as we do everything else...
There is nothing more wonderful than going to my shelf pulling down a book giving it a good old seeing to and wandering through it to bring back timkes and places events and happenings to see the curling up covers more precious every day and the inability ever to throw any of them away.
But kindle me close to your heart if its the only way you will never have to turn a page again..go for it but dont destroy the tradition of ancient humans cave walls and the like machines and technology still finds it way in to the junk yard of life.

"SORRY DARLING ITS WAY PAST TIME" BY Thomas Bunn/(also known as) Bunny Thomas ISBN 978-0-9568074-0-3 hard back version.
Off now to take Diezapam.

Like you i see the disapearance of the small local independant bookshop a tragedy I hate it watching Tessco s gobble everyhhing up but like you I still go there..will they stock my book!! will Waterstones push it will it be of any interest at all and who cares!

There are a lot of statistics in the article and these naturally interest those running outlets where they might sell Kindles and other devices. However, what is lacking in your article is any notion of what sort of books are being Kindled, so to speak. What would be far more interesting for those of us who do care about bookshops and literature, is what categories of books are being read by all these new converts.

I also like to browse in bookshops where you can flick through books you want to buy. Surely a commuter can only read one book at once and doesn't need a library of 3,500 novels at his disposal when commuting between London and Birmingham or Virginia Water.

Let's be honest, isn't this innovation chiefly being promoted to make money for large organisations that already make profits but want to increase them? Money is not literacy.

Can I exceed my half million /sold please. "Sorry Darling It's Way Past Time" By Thomas Bunn.

The roll out of readers has accelerated sharply. We have clearly moved on from "early adopter"on the curve and will soon be in a place where the majority of heavy book buyers/readers have a reader device of some sort.[2014?]. The implications for the sale of physical books in the High street are dramatic as is the potentially positive impact on how libraries could function .

Lies, Lies & Statistics.....

A sample of 2076 people all walking out of Amazon Head Office at the end of a working day....

I simply don't believe these numbers...

"Publishers are tapping into this burgeoning digital market; they are renowned for their innovation and, as the digital space evolves at such remarkable speed, publishers are in a very strong position to forge ahead with their own digital products, ideas and investments."

I don't think so. It looks to me like they are trying to kill digital products at birth with Agency Pricing and cutting their own throats at the same time. I didn't buy a Kindle for cheap books - simply for convenience. However the massive overpricing of eBooks (more expensive than hardback in a lot of cases) means that readers are going for independent authors to the detriment of established authors and publishers!

Not that there will be many libraries by then. Or bookshops. The government and Amazon in a race to impoverish society. Aided and abetted by readers who seem to want something for (almost) nothing.

Who actually cares about the bookshops ? Amazon and e books are more convenient in every way and do not diminish the content one jot. Readers are prepared to pay a fair price for e books but publishers have to remember that production and distribution costs are greatly reduced and this must be reflected in the price. If the reader wants a chunk of paper to hold hes going to have to pay for it.

I agree with Baldrick. Tough on the libraries though.

I care about bookshops! Nothing can replace the lovely feeling of strolling into a bookshop and perusing the titles on offer. I don't disagree with the pull of ebooks and the ease of buying online - I've certainly pre-ordered books online when Amazon tempts me – but I would like to see bookshops survive and I make a concerted effort to support them by buying in store when I can. There are deals to be had in store too!

what is going on here? We're witnessing the decimation of a vital social resource and basic repository of knowledge and pleasure and what happens? - On one side we have the techno (dare I say downright lazy who don't want to strain their delicate shoulders by oohh, carrying books) freaks writing off the written product and on the other, well, where's the protest and outrage?

It's a sad Friday for me...

Posted elswhere but this is the more relevant area. If anyone doesn't think this is profoundly industry-changing please put their hands up.

"This week marked an astonishing turning point in the publishing industry. USA Today published it's usual list of the top 150 bestselling books...but for the first time, they included self-published work in their calculations. Kindle Nation founder Stephen Windwalker calls it the "fall of the Paper Curtain." As if that wasn't amazing enough on its own, it wasn't just that a self-published author cracked the list...but that the same author managed to get seven titles on it. Self-published author Amanda Hocking's books placed 16, 24, 31, 81, 133, and 146 on the list, outselling authors like Stephen King and Nora Roberts. Here's what Windwalker predicts will be happening very soon:

* One way or another, the fact that USA Today has opened its "bestseller list" gates to the great unwashed population of ebook and self-published authors will force the New York Times to do the same, lest its bestseller list be rendered irrelevant.
* Once the Times and other rags allow self-published books on their bestseller lists, they will have to start publishing reviews of self-published books.
* The prediction made here just a few weeks ago, that an indie author would be inducted by early 2012 into the "Kindle Million Club" alongside James Patterson, Stieg Larsson, and Nora Roberts, will prove to have been ridiculously conservative. Regardless of when Amazon makes the announcement, Hocking will pass the million-copy mark in Kindle books sold by the first day of Spring this year, and she will be joined by another dozen indie authors before the arrival of Spring in 2012.

I have just produced my first published book that will be released in around 6 weeks time.Its all about my favorite subject myself!.

I am facinated by the mixed attitudes to the world of technology and the world that says all this new wave makes life easier...As Irvin Toffler stated in his book "future shock" we are accelerating so fast that that humans capacity to keep up with it produces this state he refered to as "future shock" that we all are very aware of any way, I just call it burn out and neuroses.

Its also amazing Toffler said this some 41 years ago.

Well have now not only passed through future shock in my case have dissapeared up my own rear passage.( I cant spell by the way)and I still seem to be on the plannet even if more confussed and bewildered each day.
I am for a miixed market and would support the notion of Kindkle books as to contest it would be futile thats called " inexorable Change" that you can ot contest. Its here, it stays, people or some of them want it we have bought in to it, as we do everything else...
There is nothing more wonderful than going to my shelf pulling down a book giving it a good old seeing to and wandering through it to bring back timkes and places events and happenings to see the curling up covers more precious every day and the inability ever to throw any of them away.
But kindle me close to your heart if its the only way you will never have to turn a page again..go for it but dont destroy the tradition of ancient humans cave walls and the like machines and technology still finds it way in to the junk yard of life.

"SORRY DARLING ITS WAY PAST TIME" BY Thomas Bunn/(also known as) Bunny Thomas ISBN 978-0-9568074-0-3 hard back version.
Off now to take Diezapam.

Like you i see the disapearance of the small local independant bookshop a tragedy I hate it watching Tessco s gobble everyhhing up but like you I still go there..will they stock my book!! will Waterstones push it will it be of any interest at all and who cares!

There are a lot of statistics in the article and these naturally interest those running outlets where they might sell Kindles and other devices. However, what is lacking in your article is any notion of what sort of books are being Kindled, so to speak. What would be far more interesting for those of us who do care about bookshops and literature, is what categories of books are being read by all these new converts.

I also like to browse in bookshops where you can flick through books you want to buy. Surely a commuter can only read one book at once and doesn't need a library of 3,500 novels at his disposal when commuting between London and Birmingham or Virginia Water.

Let's be honest, isn't this innovation chiefly being promoted to make money for large organisations that already make profits but want to increase them? Money is not literacy.

Can I exceed my half million /sold please. "Sorry Darling It's Way Past Time" By Thomas Bunn.