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The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Publishers, Internet bookstores, and companies that manufacture eReaders have high expectations for the digital future of the book industry. A new generation of eReaders may, at last, achieve the long-awaited breakthrough that lures consumers away from paper and ink. In the United States, Amazon has revolutionized the market by producing an eReader that is easy to use and making it easy for customers to purchase a wide variety of books at competitive prices. While some people herald the advent of digital reader technology as an opportunity to open new target markets and create customers, others mourn the end of traditional books and doubt the industry will be able to retain control over pricing and content.
Today, it seems eBooks and eReaders provide more questions than answers for the book industry:
- Will the industry face the same issues that music publishers did during its digital transformation several years ago – primarily digital piracy and a loss of revenue as customers discovered new methods of acquiring content and adopted new listening habits?
- Who will purchase eReaders? Will they be designed to appeal to a broad group of customers or only to those who have a high degree of comfort with technology? Will people who read once in a while want to buy an eReader, or will they only be purchased by the small group of customers who buy and read a high volume of books?
- Will publishers be able to use eBooks and eReaders to extend the market for books in general, creating a wider audience?
- Will publishers ever move to an all- digital model and abandon printed books?
- Is the media responsible for much of the hype we are now hearing about eBooks and eReaders?
This study will look at consumers’ attitudes toward and interest in digital reading. It will also identify market opportunities and developments for eBooks and eReaders, and make recommendations for publishers, traditional retailers, online retailers, and intermediaries. The study includes a general market analysis, a discussion of trends and developments, and the results of a consumer poll conducted among 1,000 online users in the United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Germany.
This research is complemented by more than 40 interviews with experts and senior executives of reader manufacturers, a wide range of publishers, dealers, online and traditional book shops, and libraries in Germany. The survey considers the importance of eBooks and asks about their market potential, drivers, obstacles for the future market development, and possible income models and marketing structures.
The survey focuses on the international market for eBooks and eReaders, particularly with regard to mass market books in the United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Germany. It also focuses on opportunities for digital distribution of newspapers and magazines through tablets, such as the Apple iPad.
Technology, Media & Telecommunications Germany
Download: Turning the Page: The Future of Ebooks (Right-click for save options)