Brits are embracing e-books more enthusiastically than anyone in Europe, the numbers show. Last year, UK e-book buyers were responsible for half of Western Europe's digital book spending - even though the nation only accounts for 15 per cent of Europe's combined spending on physical books, market watcher Futuresource said today …
Lots more ebooks in English...
...than in any other language probably has something to do with it, I'd say.
My thoughts exactly...
I suspect this study was secretly written by the dept of the bleedin' obvious.
German Kindle store only launched in April 2011
Not sure of the usefulness of a survey of this type, at least not for the sake of comparisons between regions.
The German Kindle store was only recently launched and due to the size of the Amazon content it instantly makes it Germany's largest digital bookstore.
So, given Germany is Europe's largest economy, how can you make any meaningful comparison?
Kindle store not even open yet on Amazon.fr, this "research" boils down to "more people bought a product where it was for sale than where it wasn't".
I'm fairly sure we could have worked that out without any help at all.
What next? PSP Vita didn't sell very well last year?
I never thought the ebook 'thing' was ever going to amount to much. Paper books are a remarkably usable technology (drop em in the bath dry them out etc). But having been bought a Kindle 3G I've come to eat my words somewhat.
The Kindle is a cracking piece of kit which Amazon has got really sorted. Certainly I've loaded up the Kindle with free books but I've also started buying the cheaper ebooks too. I've no doubt I'll buy full price books soon enough.
Amazing how one product can be a game changer for a whole medium.
But it doesn't make the book shelves look very good.
One thing this report misses
We also have the smallest houses. Lack of shelf space is the reason why I buy ebooks.
Maybe it's because ...
... most available e-books are in English.
I wonder how much this has to do with language. Maybe there are more English ebooks around. And a bigger range of titles definitely makes the whole ebook concept more attractive.
Not just the language
'English is one of the most commonly spoken languages. I've been to Latin america and they all make a huge effort to learn English, and also the money issue. Latin americans are not spending much in ebooks.
Missing the point
Surely the big, obvious point here is that there are more English language ebooks, due to American success and media ownership; and pricing of these English books is probably more competitive, due to existing popularity (in America).
What would be more informative is to take one single ebook with multicultural appeal (a standard textbook?) that is on sale at the same price point in several countries in several languages, and see where it is most popular.
All the people who work in the Spanish office where I work have to buy most of their e-books "in the UK" because they are not available in Spain. So all of those books should increase the numbers for Spain and reduce for the UK. This may not be unique to Spain, so maybe the numbers are measuring the wrong things (Where they are bought, not by whom).
The only eBooks available on the French Amazon website are old classics. No modern books at all. The French are big book readers, so if they were available they would probably buy them.
Amazon's barriers to buying books
Also factor in the nonsense that Amazon UK won't sell Kindle titles to non-UK residents, instead forcing them to the US store with a poorer selection and almost invariably higher prices. I know it's not entirely Amazon's fault, and the blame lies rightfully at the door of the publishing industry with their questionable pricing practices and who haven't learnt much from the debacle that's been the music industry for the past decade. Torrents start to look appealing when what should be the most seamless part of the whole process, actually buying content, involves jumping through hoops involving proxies.
Amazon sent me an email asking for a copy of my passport as I'd dared, shock, horror, to buy an ebook from an Irish IP address. I told them where they could shove their request
There are some good sites out there. not just amazon.
You probably have the reason in there.
"The market has exploded in Britain after Amazon introduced a UK version of its Kindle online bookshop..."
Want a Kindle or an e-Book from Amazon in Europe? You'll be getting that from the US store then. So rather than intra-EU shipping and prepaid VAT on your Kindle, you get to pay transatlantic shipping rates and then get stung for import duties and VAT. Nice one! Then you're stuck with the US book store, paying in dollars, getting stung on currency exchange transactions and stuck with all the spelling mistakes in English language books.
If Amazon want to know why the European market is not battering their door down, they should get a dictionary (they probably have a few knocking around unused) and look up what the words "European market" actually mean.
An easy solution
When torrents are available that contain tens of thousands of books in .mobi format, Amazon's policies really don't matter.
More of us can read!
Logically, 5 Brits can read for every Euro; Can't be, it mut be easier to read an ebook in a pub.
Kindle in France
Barely exists after a seemingly failed launch. Many of the "free" e-books aren't, and dozens (The Secret Garden) aren't available in my location.
Frankly, as far as I'm concerned this is a good thing for me as French Amazon is not polluted with Kindle stuff, unlike the British counterpart...
but where is the cost-benefit of one? an e-book typically costs the same as a paperback (at least on a quick scan of recent books), so you spend £100+ for a Kindle, and then pay the same for a book to read on it. I can take a paperback anywhere and is often smaller than a Kindle
Re:e-books .... mobility
Try stuffing 3-4 paperbacks in your luggage whenever travelling, you'll notice the difference. Paper takes up a lot of space and I certainly like looking at my Discworld series collection, all lined up on the shelf. But alas - currently, it is about 9000 km from me, because I simply couldn't rationalize stuffing kilos of paperback fiction in my luggage when going abroad.
That said, I certainly prefer reading textbooks and technical literature on paper (scribbles, squiggles, and just plain old visual memory). It's just all the other fiction, novels and even news articles are so much more convenient when contained in a slim 240 g package.
Not if they are out of copyright.
I've got stacks of free ebooks on my reader. Which cost much less than I would have paid for second-hand dead tree versions.
Since the only European country with a Kindle store was the UK until 3-4 months ago, its hardly surprising it took such a large share of the market. This article says more about Amazon than it does about the e-reading habits of Europeans.
Flying off the hard disks
it's my wife...
...she's skewed the figures...
I'm a big fan of ebooks
I'm just not a big fan of DRM. Every time I look at an ebook that I haven't made myself, I seem to have to have a mac or a windows pc. Bit of a problem that... Yes, I know about Calibre (and highly recommend it) and the scripts for unlocking books I own, but I'm hoping they'll do the decent thing and assume I'm *not* a book-stealing criminal.
I'm really not sure about all these 'and the book is logged on our servers so you can use it on a number of devices, and start where you left off'. To be honest, I don't particularly want datasnarfing multinationals to know everything I read (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, 1992-05, scanned and proofed by my own fair hands, as it happens) and I'd rather have a non-DRM'd file sitting on computer(s) that *I* control, in the same way I keep my proper books on a shelf.
About the book tracking - it can be turned off in your kindle profile, too. Or you may simply download the azw file from amazon yourself and keep the wireless on your kindle off.
I bought my Kindle to read classics, the only books I bought were a few 2-3 dollar collections just to save hunting them all down. 189 books 4 drm.
With the Calibre software, its amazing anyone is BUYING books.
Didn't know The Sun came in e-book format
Title says it all
Amazon's (et al) approach to e-books
All your ebooks are belong to US