UK e-books market expected to grow ten-fold over five years

UK e-books market expected to grow ten-fold over five years

<p>E-book sales in the UK will grow ten-fold over the next five years, but generating profits from digital will not be easy, according to a new report by global accountants Price Waterhouse Coopers. </p><p>The report argues that e-book sales in the UK will continue to lag behind the growth seen in the US, and that sales of e-book readers will begin to taper after 2012 when most avid book reader will have bought a device.</p><p>The report, &quot;Turning the Page: The Future of eBooks&quot;, argues content owners, and retailers&nbsp; should act promptly to secure leading positions in the e-book and e-reader marketplace, and not concede ground to participants new to the industry. But it suggests that in US publishers appear more &quot;amenable&quot; to e-books because they generally offer lower costs and higher margins than print, and that European publishers are more likely to express doubts about digital. On price, it argues that publishers should look to design a pricing strategy that attracts customers without undermining the value of content, and says the strategy of offering ebooks at a price lower than that of printed books is &quot;a step in the right direction&quot;.</p><p>The analysis reported that in 2010 e-book sales in the UK represented 1.5% of the overall market, or $52m (&pound;33.1m), but that by 2015 they would represent 14.2% of the market, or $534m (&pound;339.9m), amounting to growth of 59.3%. E-book sales in the US were estimated at $1.5bn (&pound;955.1m) in 2010, 7.2%, of the overall books market, and were expected to grow to $5.6bn (&pound;3.56bn) by 2015, 22.5% of the overall market, representing growth of 30%. In both scenarios the print and audio books markets are expected to shrink, by 1.5% in the UK, and by 0.5% in the US, but the overall books market will grow, by 1.3% in the UK and by 3.2% in the US.</p><p>The report argues that traditional bookstores face the risk of exclusion from the expanding market for digital content. &quot;More than ever, the traditional bookstore will have to emphasize its strengths in terms of customer knowledge, customer retention, and competence. And it will have to distribute book content in all formats and all channels.&quot; <br /><br />The report also looked at the Netherlands and German book markets, but found e-books as a proportion of overall sales would be significantly less than either in the UK or US, with Dutch consumers the least interested in e-books and e-readers. By 2015 e-book sales were expected to make up 6.3% of all book sales in Germany, and 4.4% of all book sales in the Netherlands.<br /><br />The report interviewed 40 reprensentatives across the sector in the US, UK, German and the Netherlands, and an online survey was held among 1,000 consumers.</p>