E-book prices 'may rise', FBF hears

E-book prices 'may rise', FBF hears

E-book prices may rise in the future when they have more enhancements to offer, while the EU should still be considered an emerging market in digital terms. Those were some of the hot-button issues at yesterday’s (10th October) Frankfurt Book Fair c.e.o. roundtable.

All the panellists agreed that the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are growth markets. However, Vanket Valliappan, category head of books at online retailer Indiaplaza, said “mutual respect” must occur between developed and emerging markets. He said: “If a British university published a book from a professor, it will be treated well in India. If an Indian university publishes a book, it is still treated with doubt in Western nations. These issues will change.”

Kobo c.e.o. Michael Serbinis (pictured) pointed out that Brazil is being especially targeted by the industry at the moment, for a number of reasons, including “the size of the country, the size of opportunity for e-commerce, and the content that is available there".

However, Elodie Perthuisot, Fnac’s director of books, argued that Western companies still need to think closer to home. “Europe is still an emerging market in terms of e-books,” she said.

In terms of pricing, Serbinis agreed that even though digital prices were continuing to fall, a change in what e-books have to offer might alter that. “The e-book at the moment is black, white and read all over. It’s different to what people are buying in book stores, such as children’s books, with full colour and pictures. Changing the prices comes down to this value.

“We’re going to see e-books be worth something. The [pricing] changes going on now are short-term fluctuations,” he added.