Monday, May 9, 2011

Ereaders in Europe

Ereader adoption has been US focused to date. But growth in Europe is now on a healthy uptick. 1.9 million Ereaders in 2010. I take the prediction for 9.6 million in 2015 with a grain of salt. Why? Ereadering has consistently outgrown any published prediction that I've seen!

I love how 'journalists' who do not read are always predicting a cap on ebooks and ereader demand. Why? Here I have one link that shows how HUGE the untapped market is.

Oh, 9.6 million by 2015 is very conservative (for Europe). I'd bet we will cross that line in 2012! :) Note: That isn't a quadrupling of ebook sales. The first buyers will be the most 'intense readers.' In 2012, ereaders will be picked up by those who 'only read' 12 to 20 a year.

Of course, if *someone* would please come out with an Android e-ink phone with a 5" or 6" screen, we could rewrite our expectations of ereader sales towards the upside. Even further if someone finally launches e-ink that can do 720 video. :)

Got Popcorn?


  1. It would be nice if the distributors, such as Amazon, didn't try to dictate who could buy what where. It's such an archaic system.

    Tara Maya
    The Unfinished Song: Initiate

  2. Tara,

    100% agree. Let the author decide the regions. (e.g., opt out if they've already sold the rights).


  3. Hi Neil,

    You might like this brief interview with Kobo's CEO on their rate of growth of registered users:

    Re. your article, personally I think we will see massive e-book growth in Europe once consumer pressure builds on e-book sales taxes (it's starting) and on the $2 Amazon Whispernet surcharge on all e-books downloaded through your Kindle outside of UK and Germany (consumers are only just becoming aware of this now).

    The problem with Apple grabbing a decent share of the e-reader market in Europe is that Apple don't sell a lot of books and don't seem to be that interested in doing so (other than to make it difficult for Amazon).


  4. Shouldn't we have AAP figures soon?

    Any predictions?

  5. David,

    Thanks for the links! Ghad its nice having blogger back up.

    I'll read your link shortly. I agree Apple doesn't really seem to be in the book market except to block Amazon/B&N.

    As to the AAP, see my statement last month:

    "When print books sell well, the AAP sales numbers hit the web as early as the 8th of the month. The worse the print book sales, the later the numbers are released. Bad pbook sales are released the 14th through the 17th."

    Now the earliest the number could be released is the 16th. I expect we won't hear until later (the AAP doesn't like to release on a Monday). This implies bad pbook sales.

    I suspect ebooks did very well. :) The question is 'did ebooks have their normal seasonal drop?'

    Or are the sales shooting up?


  6. Hi Neil,

    There's something else holding back e-book sales in Europe, and I am only beginning to understand it.

    I'm trying to collect a list of what 99 cent books cost in each country that uses the Amazon US store for e-books (i.e. any country outside the UK or the Amazon Germany countries - Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland & Germany).

    There are two issues here.

    First is VAT (which is charged at 15% all over the EU because they bill from Luxembourg). Amazon seem to add this to some 99 cent books (like mine - If You Go Into The Woods by David Gaughran, Lunch Break Thrillers by Declan Conley, or Atlantis by Bob Mayer) - I see a price of $1.16 for all those 99 cent books. But they don't seem to add to other 99 cent books (like My Blood Approves by Amanda Hocking, or Eyes of The Hammer by Bob Mayer, or any John Locke book) - I see 99 cent for all those books.

    Second is the international surcharge which varies from country to country.

    This is the price of my 99 cent book in various countries that use the Amazon US store (where I have set the price at 99 cent) - this is all I have data for so far.

    USA, Australia - $0.99.

    Ireland, Sweden - $1.16.

    France, Finland Poland, Hungary - $3.44.

    A friend in Hungary has tried emailing Amazon several times to ask about the discrepancy, but always gets a canned response which doesn't answer the question at all.

    Anyone get any idea what's going on? Or some more data points to share?


    P.S. None of this applies to books sold through Amazon UK or Amazon Germany, where prices are set by the writer/publisher and already include VAT (sales tax) in that price.

  7. I've written more about this here today:

  8. This is the list of Amazon "surcharge" countries I have been able to verify so far:

    Spain, Portugal, France, Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, and Finland.

    I'm sure there are more but that's 190 million people already.

    This will have a hugely depressing effect on the e-book market in Europe, unless rectified.

    As far as I am aware, this charge used to apply in Australia, Ireland & Canada, but was abolished.

  9. And you can add South Africa & Italy which bring us close to 300 million customers affected - pretty much equal to the US population.

    Yet some writers "don't see the issue here".