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Trade E-Book Publishing 2009

Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

“What we know about e-books shouldn’t be created with hype and maintained through misunderstanding.” --Michael Norris, Senior Analyst, Simba Information

Trade E-Book Publishing 2009 analyzes the market for electronic books through the eyes of two of the most prominent vendors: Amazon and Sony.

Simba Information’s trade books group has watched the e-book segment expand in its own right. But too much of what’s known about this market has been created by hype and maintained through misunderstanding. By taking e-book questions directly to consumers in the form of an exclusive survey of 2,600 U.S. adults and combining it with additional analysis, Simba has been able to answer some important questions and bust some myths about the publishing segment everyone is talking about. Trade E-Book Publishing 2009 includes:

  • Detailed analysis from an exclusive Simba Information poll of 2,600 adults

  • An answer to the big question: what percentage of adults read and/or buy e-books?

  • The average number of e-books read in 2008 by consumers of the format to see what extent there is demand for an "iPod of books"

  • Demographic data about the buyers of e-books, including gender, age, household income and more

  • Analysis on pricing trends and a discussion of the risks/reward potential of "free" e-books

  • Definitive analysis of the devices on which e-books are read—including the iPhone and Kindle—and the surprise No. 1 choice for consumers

  • Extensive category analysis drawn from a six-month study of Amazon and Sony bestseller lists as well as a comparison between the two e-book stores

  • Assessment about the opportunities and pitfalls of this market

  • And more

Stamford, CT—July 30, 2009—Simba Information, which recently published Trade E-Book Publishing 2009, continued the analysis in its monthly periodical, Book Publishing Report, which reveals the extent the prices of electronic books have fallen between July 2008 and June 2009 in this month’s issue. The price decrease was found in a year-long effort tracking bestselling titles from Amazon and Sony.

In July 2008, the top 25 titles on Amazon’s bestseller list for the four weeks averaged $9.25 and the top 25 in June 2009 averaged $8.04 after decreasing fairly steadily during the interim. For Sony, after starting at $10.13 in July 2008 then increasing to $11.68 in November thanks to a few well selling bundles, the average price of the top 25 fell to $9.97 in June.

“There’s a lot of pressure to sell titles at a loss, or at least better than the other guy, in order to lure new customers,” said Michael Norris, senior analyst at Simba Information. “But if the competition gets so fierce it leads to a race-to-the-bottom, no one will win, not even consumers.”

Of course lower prices aren’t the only ways to add value to the consumer experience. Sony recently added about 500,000 free public domain e-books to its library, a move that pushed the company’s selection far beyond Amazon’s. That was replicated by Barnes & Noble’s announcement earlier this month when it opened its new e-book store. These and other companies continue to experiment with their user interface, loyalty programs, and other means to get a competitive edge in this complicated marketplace.

According to Trade E-Book Publishing 2009, about 8% of the U.S. adult population purchased at least one e-book during 2008; a figure undoubtedly on the rise. The report also determined the most popular devices on which e-book users consume their books and includes demographic data of buyers.

For additional information please visit or contact Warren Pawlowski at 203-325-8193 x114.

About Simba Information:

Simba Information is widely recognized as the leading authority for market intelligence in the media and publishing industry. Simba's extensive information network delivers top quality, independent perspective on the people, events and alliances shaping the media and information industry. Simba provides consulting and reports that provide key decision-makers at more than 15,000 client companies around the globe with timely analysis, exclusive statistics and proprietary industry forecasts. For more information, please visit

  • Methodology
  • Executive Summary
  • E-Book Usage: Myths & Realities
    • Introduction: `Print the Legend'
      • Yes or No?
        • Table E-Book Overview: Percentage of U.S. Adults Who Have Read/Purchased an E-Book in the Last 12 Months
        • Table E-Book Overview: Have You Read or Purchased E-Books Over the Past 12 Months?
  • Trends & User Demographics in the E-Book Marketplace
    • Introduction
    • E-Books Subject to Same `Consumer Bandwidth' Issues as Print Titles
      • Table Overview of Book Purchasing Population (U.S. Adults): Customer Trends for Print Books (Number of adults in thousands)
      • Table Number of E-Books Read in Past 12 Months
    • Experimenting with Price Options
    • Difficulties with Digital Rights Management
    • Bestsellers Mostly Mimic Print Titles
      • Table Composite List Overview (Titles, authors and imprints on Amazon and Sony bestseller lists)
      • New Books
        • Table Top 50 New Titles, July-December 2008 (out of 177 total)
      • Top Titles Overall
        • Table Top 50 Titles, July-December 2008 (out of 266 total)
        • Table Top 20 Titles for Amazon Kindle, July-December 2008 (out of 95 total)
        • Table Top 20 Titles for Sony Reader, July-December 2008 (out of 209 total)
      • Top Authors
        • Table Top 50 Authors, July-December 2008 (out of 224 total)
      • Top Imprints
        • Table Top 50 Imprints, July-December 2008 (out of 69 total)
    • E-Books and the Children's/YA Segment
    • The Demographics of the Electronic Book Buyer
      • Table E-Book Demographics by Gender
      • Gender
      • Age Group
        • Table E-Book Demographics by Age Group
      • Marital Status
      • Children in Household
        • Table E-Book Demographics by Marital Status
      • By Employment Status
        • Table E-Book Demographics by Children in Household
        • Table E-Book Demographics by Employment Status
      • Educational Attainment
        • Table E-Book Demographics by Educational Attainment
        • Table E-Book Demographics by Race/Ethnicity
      • Race/Ethnicity
      • Type of Residence
      • Urban vs. Suburban Locale
        • Table E-Book Demographics by Residence
      • Geographic Region
        • Table E-Book Demographics by Urban vs. Suburban Locale
        • Table E-Book Demographics by Geographic Region
      • By Household Income
        • Table E-Book Demographics by Household Income Bracket
  • Trade E-Book Publishing: Category Analysis
    • Introduction
    • Category Growth
      • Table Amazon Kindle Category Growth by Category Size, July-December 2008
      • Table Sony Reader Categories, December 2008
    • Top Categories
      • Table Top 20 Trade Book Categories, July-December 2008 (Based on data from NYT, USA and PW bestseller lists)
      • Table Top Kindle/Sony Categories, July-December 2008
      • Advice & How-To
        • Table Bestselling Advice & How-To Titles, July-December 2008
      • Biographies & Memoir
        • Table Bestselling Biographies & Memoir Titles, July-December 2008
      • Business & Investing
        • Table Bestselling Business & Investing Titles, July-December 2008
      • Children's Chapter Books
        • Table Bestselling Children's Chapter Books, July-December 2008
      • Fantasy
        • Table Bestselling Fantasy Books, July-December 2008
      • Fiction
        • Table Bestselling Fiction Titles, July-December 2008 (out of 29 total)
      • History
        • Table Bestselling History Titles, July-December 2008
      • Humor
        • Table Bestselling Humor Titles, July-December 2008
      • Lifestyle & Home
        • Table Bestselling Lifestyle & Home Titles, July-December 2008
        • Table Bestselling Literary Fiction Titles, July-December 2008
      • Literary Fiction
      • Mystery & Thriller
        • Table Bestselling Mystery & Thriller Titles, July-December 2008 (out of 63 total)
        • Table Bestselling Parenting & Families Titles, July-December 2008
      • Parenting & Families
      • Politics & Current Events
        • Table Bestselling Politics & Current Events Titles, July-December 2008
      • Reference
        • Table Bestselling Reference Titles, July-December 2008
      • Religion & Spirituality
        • Table Bestselling Religion & Spirituality Titles, July-December 2008
      • Romance
        • Table Bestselling Romance Titles, July-December 2008 (out of 68 total)
        • Table Bestselling Science Titles, July-December 2008
      • Science
      • Science Fiction
        • Table Bestselling Science Fiction Titles, July-December 2008
      • Sports
        • Table Bestselling Sports Titles, July-December 2008
  • BlackBerry, iPhone, Kindle, PC: Platforms for E-Book Consumption
    • Introduction
    • The Evolution of E-Book Formats
    • The Platforms
      • The Personal Computer
      • Mobile Phone or PDA
      • The Apple iPhone
      • Dedicated Reading Devices
      • Sony Corp.
      • Amazon's Kindle
    • Future Devices
    • The Most Popular Devices Today
      • Table Devices Used to Read E-Books
  • Recommendations and Conclusions
    • Recommendations

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