E-book sales to hit almost $1 billion this year

As 2010 closes, U.S. consumers will have bought $966 million worth of e-books this year, with sales likely to reach close to $3 billion in another five years, says research firm Forrester.

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Although e-book buying is still a niche market, those people who like their books electronic are spending lots of money.

This year, U.S. consumers will have spent $966 million on e-books, according to a report released yesterday by Forrester. By 2015, e-books will be close to a $3 billion market, projects the research firm.

Most of the 4,000 people questioned by Forrester for a recent survey still get their books the old-fashioned way, either borrowing them from a friend or taking them out from the library. Only 7 percent of the people polled read e-books, according to a blog post from Forrester analyst James McQuivey. But they read the most books and spend lots of money on them.

Among those surveyed, the average e-book reading aficionado reads about 41 percent of books in electronic format, a percentage that includes people who don't have a dedicated e-book reader, such as the Amazon Kindle. Among those who own a Kindle or other dedicated device, 66 percent get their books digitally.

Dedicated e-book readers are only one way for reading digital books, and not the most popular way. The survey found that 35 percent of people who read e-books do so on a laptop. Rounding out the top five, the Kindle came in second at 32 percent, followed by the iPhone, the Sony eReader, and a Netbook.

Looking ahead, Forrester is forecasting that the 7 percent figure of current e-book reading adults will rise once more people "get the hang" of consuming books in digital format. The research firm believes its forecast of a near $3 billion market by 2015 will happen even if the industry doesn't continue to innovate with new types of screens and different types of content.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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