Australia and India join e-book adoption race

Australia and India have joined the UK and the US as world leaders in e-book adoption rates, according to Bowker Market Research’s Global eBook Monitor (GeM). Adult fiction is the main target of book buyers in the UK and Australia, while in India and South Korea the concentration is on professional books and academic textbooks.

According to the research, 24% of respondents in India had bought an e-book in the six months prior to the survey, putting that market ahead of Australia (21%), the UK (21%), and the US (20%). Respondents in France and Japan were the least likely to have purchased an e-book, at 5% and 8% respectively. The survey also found that more than 80% of respondents in each country know it is possible to digitally download a book.

The report reveals that the market for e-books is set for a rapid increase in Brazil and India. Over 50% of respondents from these two countries said that they were likely to buy an e-book in the next six months, a prediction that would double the number of e-book buyers in India, and triple the number of e-book buyers in Brazil. About a third of respondents in the UK and US said they had plans to purchase an e-book soon, compared to one in five in France, and one in seven in Japan.

GeM tracks consumer purchases of e-books, and attitudes about e-books, in ten major world markets by interviewing the general population of each country online. The study, by Bowker Market Research, tracks consumer attitudes to and purchasing of e-books in major world markets. Kelly Gallagher, Bowker Market Rearch vice-president, said: “The market for e-books is experiencing exponential growth internationally, with news each week of new e-readers and specialist e-tailers. Publishers and retailers must adapt to a very changed landscape.”

In most countries surveyed, men are more likely than women to buy an e-book. Germany shows the greatest divergence, with 18% of male respondents having bought an e-book in the past six months, compared to only 8% of women. In almost all markets, the older the respondents, the less likely they are to have recently purchased an e-book.  Purchase rates in India, Brazil, the UK, US and France are highest in the 25–34 age group, with Australia, Spain, Germany, South Korea and Japan highest among 18-24 year olds.