The Growing Ebook Market

If there was ever a doubt that ebooks would be the wave of the future, now’s the time to cast it away.

When I first heard about the Amazon (AMZN) Kindle, I had high hopes. I saw the coupling of the Amazon marketplace & the Kindle akin to Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes Store & the iPod, and hoped a similar success could follow.

I even put my money where my mouth is and purchased some AMZN stock, which I’m happy to say is up over 50% right now. Hells yea!

I still have high hopes, though the competition has certainly stiffened. And that’s a good thing. Competition makes products better. It also validates a market. With all of this competition, there’s no doubt in my mind that there’s a market for ebooks now. A report by Global Industry Analysts even puts the ebook market at $9.5 billion:

Driven by growing popularity of online shopping, lure of discounts offered by retailers, faster delivery, free shipments, and the convenience offered by home shopping, the market for online books is projected to reach US$9.5 billion by 2010.

United States is the largest market for online books worldwide. The market is estimated at US$4.8 billion in 2007 as stated by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. Europe is the second largest regional market with a projected value of US$2.76 billion in 2009. The US and Europe together account for close to 95% of the global online books market.

Imagine how much larger this market will grow once non-English ebooks are released & made available. Big international growth opportunity here.

There have been other small indications of market growth domestically too, such as:

  • The iBooks app on the Apple iPad. Some people love this app and it’s been getting a lot of buzz lately. Whether or not you believe the iPad will break into the mass market, the iBooks app is still a significant milestone in the ebook timeline.
  • The upcoming launch of Google’s (GOOG) ebook store, Google Editions. With their scale & resources, this is bound to make some kind of an impact, though lots of questions still remain: Will they support the ePub format? Will their ebooks be downloadable to ebook readers? How many ebooks will they have? Etc.
  • Stanford University’s preparation of a “bookless” library for cost reasons. I have a feeling other universities are watching closely; if Stanford pulls this off successfully, others will surely follow. If college students across the country become comfortable with ebooks, they are surely to become ebook consumers once they graduate.
  • O’Reilly’s Ebook Deal of the Day (just for today), where every ebook is on sale for $9.99. O’Reilly has been a strong supporter of ebooks, and for good reason: their customers want ebooks. Perhaps other publishers will follow suit someday.

Goodbye doubt, hello ebook market!

Author: Mike Lee

An idealistic realist, humanistic technologist & constant student.