Here’s an interesting follow up to the news earlier this week that every fourth German is now reading ebooks.
While the number of German readers may not have increased much in the past year, the German ebook market has grown.
GfK has released some results from its survey of German consumers. It has found that in the first half 2015, an estimated 2.9 million Germans over the age of ten paid for an ebook. They spent a total of nearly 95 million euros. This represents an increase of 13 percent compared to the same period last year, according to GfK.
Edit: Just to put that 95 million euros in perspective, the AAP reported yesterday that US ebook revenues (for the half of US publishing industry that the AAP tracks) totaled around $730 million in the first half of 2015. That puts the total consumer spending at $2 billion and change. With a population four times as large, the US is spending twenty times as much on ebooks.
That estimated number of readers is far smaller than the ten plus million of Germans that read ebooks, according to the Bitkom survey earlier this week. While a discrepancy between readers and buyers is to be expected (a UK survey showed a similar albeit smaller discrepancy) I have no explanation as to why the so many more Germans want to read ebooks than buy them.
Could it be the price controls in the German book market are discouraging ebook sales but not discouraging adoption?
If so, that might explain why GfK found that 1.4 million German borrowed ebooks during the first half of 2015. This includes free laons as part of a membership with online sellers, borrowing ebooks from libraries, and monthly flat rate models (like Kindle Unlimited).
These readers were heavily focused on loans, so much so that more than half didn’t buy books (neither print or ebooks) but only borrowed them.
image by Tommy Hemmert Olesen