The release of Amazon’s first Kindle e-reader in 2007 rang in a period of rapid growth for electronic books in the United States. Between 2008 and 2015, eBook revenue grew from $270 million to more than $5 billion as screen technology advanced and more and more people decided to give electronic reading a try.
As of late, the once booming eBook market has slowed down significantly though. Analysts from Statista’s Digital Market Outlook expect revenues to grow at an average rate of 0.1 percent over the next five years while the number of eBook readers in the U.S. is expected to stagnate at around 90 million people. The same can be observed in many European markets, where eBooks sales never quite took off in the first place and aren’t expected to do so in the near future.
According to Statista’s analysts, one way of reigniting growth in the eBook market would be to change the pricing structure and pass on the cost advantage that eBooks have over printed books to the readers. Looking at current bestsellers in the United States, in Germany and in China reveals a difference in eBook pricing between the three markets. While the eBook editions of the Top 10 bestsellers in the U.S. and in Germany are roughly 20 percent cheaper than the corresponding hardcover editions, Chinese readers can purchase eBooks at an average discount of 74 percent.
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