e-Reading Habits Drive Market Share Growth of e-Retailers

The rise in e-book reading in the U.S. and U.K. over the last three years has been a key driver in the market share gains of e-retailers, according to research being released this month by Bowker Market Research.  In the U.S., e-retailers accounted for 44 percent of book purchases by volume in 2012, up from 25 percent in 2010. In the U.K. the rise has been somewhat less dramatic but still significant, up from 25 percent in January-November 2010, to 38 percent in the same period in 2012.

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E-retailers market share increases come at the expense of chain booksellers in the U.S., where their market share has dropped from 32 percent to 19 percent of volume.  This sector has proved more resilient in the U.K., but even there the bookshop share as a whole fell from 43 percent during January-November 2010 to 37 percent in the equivalent months in 2012.

“It is clear that the e-book format has really come of age in the US,” said Jo Henry, Director of Bowker Market Research, a service of ProQuest affiliate Bowker.  “E-books’ market share has seen steady growth since January 2009, with steep rises after each Christmas.”

In November 2012, 28 percent of all book purchases in the U.S. were in e-book format — a dramatic rise from six percent in November 2010.  In the U.K., the e-book share of the market reached a peak of 13 percent in July 2012, at the height of the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon, but fell back to about nine percent in November 2012.

Full year data on the U.K. consumer book market – including the impact of e-books, the latest trends in e-reading devices, book discovery and purchase influences, as well as insights into the U.S. market, U.K. children’s reading habits and the role of bookshops – will be presented at Bowker’s Books & Consumers Conference being held on the morning of March 20th at One Birdcage Walk, London SW1.  Seats can be booked via http://booksandconsumer2013.eventbrite.co.uk/ or by contacting  Jo.Henry@bowker.co.uk.

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