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GfK: More eBooks Sold to Fewer Buyers in Germany in 2017

The German book trade group Boersenverein just released the latest consumer market survey it conducted in partnership with GfK Entertainment.

The report shows that fewer customers bought more but cheaper ebooks in the German market in 2017. An increase in volume was offset by a decline in sales price.

The high points of the consumer survey include:

  • A stagnating share of book sales in the public market:  The share of ebooks remained at the previous year’s level at 4.6%.
  • More titles sold:  eBook sales in the consumer market rose by 1 million units to 29.1 million units, an increase of 3.9%.
  • Fewer book buyers : An estimated 3.5 million customers bought at least one ebook in 2017, compared to 3.8 million in the same period of the previous year, a decrease of 7.7%.
  • Each buyer bought more copies:  Those who did buy ebooks bought an average of 8.3 copies, an increase of 12.6% over the same period of the previous year.
  • The average price declined: The average ebook price recorded by the survey fell by 5.1% from 2016 to 2017, to 6.38 euros.

"The ebook continues to gain in importance among its users as they intensify their purchases and expenses. However, the competition for time and attention of the people does not stop at this edition form. For the second year in a row, the e-book has seen buyer drops. The industry is currently intensively analyzing the reasons and motives of shoppers," said Börsenverein head Heinrich Riethmüller.

Buch Report

image by Retinafunk

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Xavier Basora February 23, 2018 um 8:57 pm


Well lemme see:
1) Price controls which either limit the discounts or disqualify them from ebooks
2) overpricing the ebooks to preserve the paper cult cargo fetish and bookstores from the eeeeeevel Amazon juggernaut and online bookstores
3) Making sure that buying ebooks is full of hassles when coming to the website; then compound it by either limiting the backlist or ensuring that many titles, especially the popular and canonical ones are unavailable in ebook format. You want them buy them in paper because (2)
4) Because the publishers still delude themselves that digital text is just a passing fad….but we’ll apply 1-3 to realize the self-fulfilling prophesy and gloat at our exceptionalism.


Diane Boyle February 24, 2018 um 3:57 pm

I am buying a lot less ebooks since Agency prices. My ebook purchases last year were down 50% of what I spent when I first got my first Kindle in 2008. I still buy as many ebooks–I just don’t buy any over $9.99–and not even then if it’s available from overdrive. Fortunately, my local libraries have a great selection of ebooks. I still get to read my favorite author’s new releases–I just have to wait in line. I wonder, do they count the ebooks purchased by libraries in the calculation and how that affects the sales of ebooks? My local libraries evidently think ebooks are not a fad and that they are something their patrons want. My local libraries even pre-order best sellers and let patrons put them on hold before they’re purchased. I have a feeling they use hold requests in deciding how many to buy. They also let patrons recommend purchases.

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