E-books in Germany

Report suggests a 'promising' future for e-books in Germany.

The German e-book market is one of the three largest in the world, although e-books still account for a relatively small percentage of total sales.  VAT on German e-books is 19% - a discrepancy with print books (7%) which the recent EU Media Futures Forum report believes should be tackled Europe-wide.  Growth of e-books in Germany - and elsewhere - will depend on price and device.  A special report in Publishing Perspectives analyses the findings of a German e-book survey.  Some key facts and figures:

  • e-books accounted for 6.2% of total sales in 2011
  • More German publishers are investing in e-book business (half are already publishing e-books;90% have plans to publish e-books in the future)
  • A reduction in VAT is needed to assure greater growth in digital reading
  • Tablet devices are currently preferred over e-readers - but e-readers are catching on
  • The Kindle, only introduced into Germany in September 2011, was Amazon's top selling product of 2011
  • Cultural barriers
    • 78% of Germans 'don't want to read from a screen'
    • 85% reported that reading from a device ‘would not provide the same reading experience'

The Publishing Perspectives article is available here.