Skip to main content

Bitkom: One in Three Germans Readers Have Read an eBook

9679140599_ecf4526aa2_hThe German digital trade group Bitkom has released its annual report (PDF) on digital adoption in Germany this week, and the report contained few surprises.

A survey of 2,171 German consumers found that around a quarter of the respondents said they do not read books, and of the remainder about 1 in 3, or 571 people, had read an ebook.

For the most part ebook readers are reading fiction, with self-help and technical books filling out the top 3. The majority (79%) of respondents also insisted they weren’t self-published books, although I’m not sure they could know for sure.

For the most part (86%) the respondents bought their ebooks, but some did borrow ebooks (27%), read free ebooks (14%), or get the ebooks as part of a subscription (13%). Those ebooks were generally read on just a single device, with only 23% saying that they read on multiple devices.

8865523266_a0f943aac1_hThe most popular reading devices were an ereader (46%), laptop (31%), smartphone (24%), tablet (21%), and desktop  (15%). Both the desktop and laptop were less popular reading devices than last year, but the other three categories increased in popularity.

Of the 1,600 respondents who didn’t read ebooks, around two-thirds  could not imagine reading ebooks in the future, while 32% could. (Of course, that 1,600 includes non-readers, so it doesn’t mean as much as you think.)

But even though many don’t read ebooks, the vast majority of the survey group (85%) favored lowering the VAT collected on ebooks to 7%, so that the taxes matched that of paper books.

This is currently illegal under EU regulation, but the EU is (very) slowly moving in that direction.

Bitkom via Literature Cafe

images by Thomas Leuthard5mal5

Similar Articles


Hannah Steenbock October 14, 2016 um 4:27 am

I read about the report in a different context, and it felt disheartening – the ebook market in Germany is still small and years behind the ebook market in the US, despite Amazon offering almost its entire catalog over here.

I must be the exception to the rule: I read almost exclusively on my Kindle and rarely buy print books anymore…

Hannah Steenbock October 14, 2016 um 4:29 am

Adding to this, I want to say that German publishers price their ebooks ridiculously high. If I couldn’t read indie authors in English, I might not be such an ebook fan.

The VAT idiocy contributes to this factor.

Write a Comment