The Global eBook Report: Current Conditions & Future Projections. Update October 2013
Chapter 1. Executive Summary
This report provides an overview of internationally emerging ebook markets, with a unique set of data from a wide array of the best available sources, a thorough analysis and a synopsis of key global developments and a broad set of detailed references to both global and local actors, forming a resource for anyone interested in the globalization of digital (book) content production and dissemination.
The report offers a status on the US and UK markets as well as close ups on ebook markets as they take shape across Europe , Brazil, China, India, Russia , and in the Arab world .
Thematic chapters focus on critical policy debates and on key driving forces, notably ebook bestsellers and pricing strategies across European markets, selfpublishing, regulation, piracy, and the expanding activities of the leading global players such as Amazon , Apple , Barnes & Noble , Google , and Kobo . Fundamental statistics on the more mature ebook markets in the US and UK serve as benchmarks, to help evaluation data from all other market developments.
The findings allow us to assess, on one hand, how the main drivers of digital change in the publishing industry impact international markets in similar ways, as reading platforms and distribution infrastructures become available, and as publishers in all markets start to make their title catalogs available in digital formats. On the other hand, a wide array of local factors — from market size through tax and pricing regimes to cultural choices — show that each market must be presented with its unique defining traits.
In Europe , Germany is ahead in embracing digital trade books, especially fiction, but is clearly behind the US and UK. Countries as diverse as Austria, France, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Spain , and Sweden have recently seen the implementation of an ebook distribution infrastructure, and at least the largest publishing groups are broadly releasing their new titles as ebooks in addition to print.
Debates and market developments in several of the small and linguistically diverse countries of Central and East Europe show how global and local factors can both support and repress the spread of ebooks, as local players suddenly have to confront much larger global actors.
In China, Brazil, India, Russia and the Arab world, distinct local factors also impact market developments, with educational publishing, not fiction, being the strongest driving force toward digital, unlike the case in North America and Europe.
Key regulatory issues, such as the recent actions of the US and European governments, as well as tax issues and legal controversies, notably involving copyright, are also documented and analyzed in this report.
The Global eBook report is using actual data, not forecasts, to map the course of developments, tapping into a wide array of sources and backed up by expert interviews and an international team of authors.
The Global eBook report has been initiated in fall 2011 by the Tools of Change conferences and O’Reilly Media , and is updated every half year. Since fall 2013, the report is published by Rüdiger Wischenbart Content and Consulting which had developed the format and authored the reports from the beginning.
Part II. Mapping and Understanding the Emerging Global eBook Markets
Chapter 2. Beyond ebooks: The ecosystem of digital books and reading
Many observers of the global book business spent much of 2011 marveling at the pace of ebook penetration in the United States and the United Kingdom. In 2012, a new digital buzzword was added: global . Never before has one book spread across not just a continent or two but around the globe, as did E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey .
By 2013, we began to see the US and UK markets maturing, with growth in ebook penetration slowing down and ebooks transcending their initial niche in a number of countries in continental Europe. More importantly though ebooks are triggering a wave of structural innovation in an old industry, with ever-broadening experiments to explore new business models, such as subscriptions as drivers for reading communities ( Nubico in Spain, Scoobe in Germany, Youboox in France, Oyster in the US), new models of cooperation between publishers and telecommunication giants and other partners in technology, and scores of startups, which include digital-only publishing ventures, social reading platforms, or service providers that adapt data mining to the requirements of
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