New report says UK e-books market will grow but sales of e readers will taper after 2012

E-book sales in the UK will grow ten-fold over the next five years, but generating profits from digital will not be easy, according to a new report "Turning the Page: The Future of eBooks", by global accountants Price Waterhouse Coopers.

The report argues that e-book sales in the UK will continue to lag behind the growth seen in the US, and that sales of e-book readers will begin to taper after 2012 when most avid book reader will have bought a device.

The report argues content owners, and retailers should act promptly to secure leading positions in the e-book and e-reader marketplace, and not concede ground to participants new to the industry. But it suggests that in US publishers appear more "amenable" to e-books because they generally offer lower costs and higher margins than print, and that European publishers are more likely to express doubts about digital. On price, it argues that publishers should look to design a pricing strategy that attracts customers without undermining the value of content, and says the strategy of offering ebooks at a price lower than that of printed books is "a step in the right direction".

The report argues that traditional bookstores face the risk of exclusion from the expanding market for digital content. "More than ever, the traditional bookstore will have to emphasize its strengths in terms of customer knowledge, customer retention, and competence. And it will have to distribute book content in all formats and all channels."

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