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.

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