The Global eBook Report: Current Conditions & Future Projections. Update October 2013

The Global eBook Report: Current Conditions & Future Projections. Update October 2013 by Rüdiger Wischenbart

Book: The Global eBook Report: Current Conditions & Future Projections. Update October 2013 by Rüdiger Wischenbart Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rüdiger Wischenbart
on 21 September 2013.

    When Amazon released data on its 2012 financial performance at the end of January 2013, Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder and CEO, concluded: “We’re now seeing the transition we’ve been expecting. After 5 years, e-books is a multi-billion-dollar category for us and growing fast — up approximately 70% last year” (“Amazon reports record sales growth,” The Bookseller , January 30, 2013 ). That is certainly true. But Amazon may no longer be in the privileged role of ruling the game almost all alone, as least in the US, due to the introduction of the Kindle in 2007.
    Sales from Kindle and tablet devices alone are estimated at $4.5 billion, up 26% from 2012, according to Morgan Stanly, yet with annual growth expected to slow down in the years ahead. For 2014, sales of digital media content is expected to surpass revenues from devices. Overall, the “Kindle ecosystem” is expected to account for 11 percent of the company’s total revenue this year, but 23 percent of its operating profit. (Quoted by Allthings , 12 August 2013).
    A major expansion in the ecosystem that Amazon offers to its customers was in spring 2013 the acquisition of the reading platform Goodreads , which had grown, by summer 2013, to a community of 20 million.
    Amazon’s International Growth
    For the first time ever, the annual report 2012 gave some insight into the stupendous international expansion of the world market leader in online bookselling ( Annual Report for fiscal year, ended December 31, 2012, US SEC).
    While overall sales of Amazon in North America always exceed revenues from its international business, at least since 2010, international changes in the media sector are clearly ahead of domestic North America (“media” includes, in addition to ebooks, all other digital content: music, movies, and games, but not “electronics and other general merchandise”). Even more remarkably, at least in 2010 and 2011, “international media” showed stronger growth, year on year, than domestic developments. For 2012, international media growth dropped sharpely, from 23 percent for 2011 to 9 percent in 2012 (against continuous growth of 15 percent for domestic media sales — with no further explanation given).
    The lion’s share of Amazon’s international revenue came from only three markets, Germany, Japan, and the UK, adding up to $23 billion of the total $26.3 billion for 2012. All other markets combined accounted for just another $3.3 billion, or less than 13 percent of international. This refers to the total turnover, not just media. For Germany, an independent estimate is available that has Amazon’s media revenue at $3.5 billion, and its book division is thought to represent some 20 percent of the German book retail market, most likely making it the number one channel, head on head with Weltbild/DBH (“Amazon kontrolliert rund 20% des Buchmarktes,” buchreport , February 2013 ).
    However, recent growth beyond those three core markets, hence on the really global end of the scale, was even more remarkable, with 69 percent year on year for 2011, and 50 percent for 2012.
    Since June 2013, Amazon has started to sell its devices in mainland China, with the Kindle Paperwhite 849 yuan (US$134) and tablet computer Kindle Fire HD with 16-gigabyte memory for 1,499 yuan. ( Sina , 8 June 2013)
    Also in 2013, Amazon has started selling Kindle devices in India, after its launch of a Kindle shop in 2012, and it has enhanced its presence in India by unveiling its Amazon Associates program. (Shelf Awareness, 14 June 2013 and 9 July 2013 )
    In addition, Amazon reportedly has started preparation for entering the Russian market with a dedicated website, after hiring Arkady Vitruk, formerly the general director of one of Russia’s leading publishing houses, Azbuka –Atticus. ( Russian Book Industry Magazine , 4 July 2013)
    Amazon’s own publishing arm had started its international expansion already in late 2012 to

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