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E-books in Germany - statistics & facts

E-books are electronic versions of books, which are available for paid download through various online retailers, from specialized e-book shops to bookstores familiar from actual shopping trips, as well as larger online platforms like Amazon. Various devices are used for e-book consumption, among them not just e-book readers, which are still the first choice for many, but also smartphones and tablets. In 2020, over 9 million people in Germany read books on electronic devices. This is part of a wider digitalization trend across markets and sectors. While plenty of people still enjoy buying and reading a printed book, e-book consumption on devices enabling access and storage is in line with modern mobility and travel patterns, daily schedules and accessing literature on the go.

Of course, there are still readers who may simply be used to the experience a printed book offers and might not be able to accept an e-book as a "real" book, with some traditional elements of the reading process obviously being absent due to the nature of an electronic file. All the same, the number of consumers in Germany who purchased at least one e-book in the past year has been rising, amounting to almost 7.54 million in 2020. Most recently, 32.4 million copies of e-books were sold on the German book market. Sales have grown in the last 5 years. E-books used to be more expensive a decade earlier, at 10.7 euros for a book, but flip the pages to 2019 and the average price was 6.3 euros.

An increasing share of younger readers aged 14 to 29 years turned to e-books. In addition to perusing e-books for a specific purpose, readers had practical reasons for their choice, such as the fact that e-books are always available and don't depend on being in stock and they do not take up space on a bookshelf. Fiction made up the highest share by far among e-book sales in Germany for several years running.

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E-books in Germany

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