PwC’s international survey “E-Books on the rise” shows that the rapid spread of tablets and electronic reading devices has resulted in increasing momentum in the e-book market. In 2014, turnover from e-books in the fiction segment, including children’s books and young adult literature, will reach € 396 million euro in Germany. By 2017, turnover from e-books will double again and exceed € 850 million which corresponds to a 16 percent share of total revenue generated in the fiction segment in Germany. A comparison with neighbouring countries Belgium and the Netherlands shows a similar development: In the Netherlands, the share of overall turnover generated from e-books in consumer book segments will reach 15 percent by the year 2017 and even 22 percent in Belgium.
For the survey, PwC interviewed 1,000 online users between the ages of 18 and 65 in Germany as well as 500 online users in both the Netherlands and Belgium on their use of and experience with e-books.
“E-books are becoming increasingly popular with consumers. A reduction in the VAT rate applicable to e-books from currently 19 percent to 7 percent, the standard rate for printed books in Germany, would provide additional momentum to the German e-book market and increase margins earned by publishers”, says Werner Ballhaus, Industry Leader Technology, Media and Telecommunications at PwC Germany.
The survey conducted by PwC provides useful indications on how successful business models for e-books might look like in the future. Especially German readers are enthusiastic about rental models for e-books; about half of them would be interested in renting e-books. In Belgium and the Netherlands, 27 and 18 percent of respondents claimed they would like to rent e-books. 42 percent of all online users surveyed would be interested in a flat-rate subscription for unlimited access to an electronic library.
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