By Jeremy Greenfield, Editorial Director, Digital Book World, @JDGsaid
In April and March, nearly a quarter of Americans tried reading an e-book, up from about 20% in February, according to new data from Bowker.
In a presentation at the Publishers Launch conference in New York mostly focused on international adoption of e-books and e-reading, Bowker’s president of publishing services Kelly Gallagher announced the new figure. While the U.S. is still growing in terms of e-book use, the rest of the world is catching up.
India and Brazil might represent the best opportunity for U.S. publishers interested in breaking into emerging international markets with English language e-books. Both countries have relatively low e-book adoption rates compared to the U.S.
Only 2% of Indians and 7% of Brazilians have purchased an e-book, but both countries have relatively large populations and so those numbers represent significant opportunity for U.S. publishers – more significant than countries like Australia, where penetration of e-book readers is high, but the population is low.
According to Bowker, there were nearly 25 million Indian e-book buyers in February 2012 and nearly 15 million Brazilian e-book buyers, making them the second- and third-largest e-book markets in the world behind the U.S. at nearly 60 million e-book buyers. By comparison, there are less than 5 million such book buyers in Australia. (See chart below.)
According to Gallagher, there are several factors at play around the world contributing to this trend, including the growth of the middle class, English as the universal business language and advances for online payment processes in places like India.
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