The Ebook continues to slowly but surely gain ground in France

Mar 28, 2013
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Many have been lamenting for a long time about France’s laggard status in the digital book market. Although their concerns have certainly not been completely assuaged, Ebooks are starting to get some traction in France. With the big, annual book tradeshow (Salon du Livre) that wrapped up earlier this week in Versailles, its become clear that digital may finally be taking its rightful place in the publishing industry. Long a somewhat closed industry that has been resistant to change, the French publishing industry has and still continues to try to halt the rise of the Ebook. As result of numerous factors, including undoubtedly the big drop in tablet prices and leap in sales, consumers, however, seem to be slowly but surely transitioning at least some of their reading to Ebooks. In an infographic published by Primento, they published an infographic, highlighting the big changes underway in the publishing space. Some of the most interesting highlights from the infographic include:

  • The French digital publishing market doubles in size each year. In 2012 it reached 12 M€ in value, which by 2015 is expected to grow to 106 M€
  • 44% of French have read or expect to read a digital book (presumably in the near future)
  • 1 person out of 6 in France owns a tablet of which 41% also use the tablet to read Ebooks
  • 35 – 49 prefer to read Ebooks on tablets, 50+ on Ereaders, and 15 – 24 on their mobile phones

Frenchweb also published its top 10 key figures about the market. The most interesting highlights were:

  • Although the value of the Ebook market has grown by 80% in a year, it still only represents 0.6% of the French publishing market
  • 2M Ebooks were downloaded in France in 2012
  • Perhaps because they’re more likely to read books, 30% of those 50+ expect to read an Ebook (if they haven’t already)

So, the big takeaway is that this is clearly a market that is well-positioned to keep up its robust growth and, as a result, a market that publishers can’t ignore. However, there’s still a long way to go until the Ebook can match the might of the paper book in France.

In other highlights from the trade show, Neelie Kroes who was also in attendance, offered her three objectives for evolving the digital publishing sector, which included to:

  • Harmonise in Europe the TVA on digital and paper content
  • ‘Think bigger’ in order to be better positioned to compete with the US giants. To do this she suggested focusing on technical innovation, new business models, such as advertising , and the creation of a web portal for European books
  • And finally, she also suggested the use of the 26 million books in Europeana, the European digital library and saluted the opening of ReLire, the digital register of books from the 20th century