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eBook Download Sales to Reach $9.7 Billion by 2016

According to the latest market study by Juniper Research, they found that continued strong growth in the eReader market, combined with an upsurge in usage across media tablets, will push annual revenues from eBooks delivered to portable devices to $9.7 billion by 2016 -- that's up from $3.2 billion this year.

The study found that the increasing demand for media tablets means that these devices will account for nearly 30 percent of all eBook downloads by 2016.

In addition to the higher rate of tablet penetration, eBook access on these devices has already been boosted by the launch of leading brand bookstore applications, such as Apple's iBookStore and Amazon's Kindle.

While mobile handsets currently account for the largest share of eBook downloads, the majority of these are comprised by the Japanese manga market. Elsewhere, smartphones are not -- and are unlikely to become -- a primary reading device.

However, bookstores are increasingly seeking to enable synchronised eBook content across multiple devices -- thereby allowing users to continue reading text on their smartphone when their eReader or media tablet is unavailable.

While the transition to eCommerce and to digital content delivery has had a negative impact on traditional bricks and mortar retailers, the Juniper report observed larger bookstore chains increasingly seeking to marry their online and in-store activities.

According to Dr Windsor Holden, at Juniper "The Barnes & Noble model has been to use its own brand eReader -- and its tablet application -- to act as a bridge between online and in-store purchases. The other chains are picking up on that, launching their own devices, offering digital coupons to be redeemed in-store, reinforcing the relationship with the consumer."

Other findings from the market study include:
  • The adoption of the EPUB3 standard should create new markets for rich media titles -- enhanced eBooks -- across dedicated eReaders.
  • Subscription pricing models are likely to proliferate amongst corporate and educational content.

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