NEW: Ebooks, audiobooks, sales, subscriptions, streaming – the Digital Consumer Book Barometer 2021 is out
June 22, 2021 by ruediger

More digital book consumption, new audiences, a sustainable upswing:

2020 was a breakthrough year for digital consumer books, bringing new opportunities in reaching new audiences and an expansion in e-book and audiobook consumption in subscription, e-lending and streaming models.

The Digital Consumer Book Barometer provides detailed insights and analysis based on solid and exclusive market data in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, French speaking Canada, Brazil and Mexico.

Lockdowns, home office and home schooling have boosted digital consumption of books across all formats and channels, opening new opportunities to the book business, with similar developments across all markets and segments.

Sales soared, triggered in spring 2020 at first by the impact of pandemic restrictions. But soon, after a short lull in summer, the trend turned out to be a sustainable game changer for the entire digital book business.

One of the major surprises was the gain in popularity for subscription services and related models of continuous consumption, as in digital libraries or audiobook streaming from music services. In both German language markets as in Brazil, the increase reached massive gains for subscription and e-elending year-over-year from 2019 to 2020.

Good news for traditional publishers operating in the digital fields is that price levels could by and large be kept stable over the past 5 years in most countries, including Italy, Germany, or French speaking Canada. In more volatile markets such as Mexico or Brazil, the overall average price level went lightly down, but publishers found out, as good news, that consumers embraced not only cheap thrills, but were prepared to pay even more for high quality titles.

Overall, after ebooks having been losing some appreciation by book market commentators lately, a turnaround with sustainable gains seems to be the outcome of 2020, as is shown by the uniquely granular data analysis in this report.

The Digital Consumer Book Barometer, started by Ruediger Wischenbart Content and Consulting in 2018, is regularly updated and dwells on real sales data provided by leading international digital distributors and aggregators, notably Bookwire (German language markets, Spain, Latin America), Demarque (French speaking Canada), edigita (Italy), Libranda (Spain and Latin America), and Readbox (German language).

Download the Digital Consumer Book Barometer here.

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