Wednesday, December 30, 2009

BPN 1414 Offical stats on 2009 Dutch ereader and ebook sales

In The Netherlands the year 2009 will be recorded in the annals as the year that electronic book finally made it in the consumer market. The figures are now official:
- 12.000 ereaders sold;
- 60.000 ebooks sold;
- 5 ebooks per ereader.
Of course those figures can hardly compete with the US figures in general and the Amazon figures in particular. Amazon sells 150.000 units on a normal day. In the US during the Christmas season 1 million ereaders are supposed to have been sold. And the forecast for 2010 is no less than 6 million.

But for a country like The Netherlands these figures are a good start. If you can use the same multipliers like in the States, some 75.000 ereaders would be sold and 360.000 ebooks in 2010. Of course these figures are a bleak shade of the 50 million copies of printed books sold in The Netherlands. But after 15 years since the first introduction of ereaders and ebooks in the Netherlands, it is not a bad start at all. and Sony should be applauded for effort they put into the launch and the site of the NDC/VBK publishers for its perseverance.

Since yesterday the score for ebooks sold is already 60.003, as I bought three ebooks for the BeBook Mini. As I will be travelling soon again, I have now some 12 ebooks in my ereader; enough to survive a trip to the Middle East. Downloading the books took some time as I had to install Adobe Digital Edition and the link between the BeBook Mini is still functioning poorly. The helpdesk of is apparently still on Christmas recess.

During the download session I noticed still a potential problem, which will might hold back buyers: the format battle. Mobipocket was a favourite format with a lot of restrictions such as DRM. But since the launch, EPUB is the favourite and liberal format. Downloading on more platforms is allowed and easy.

All in all it will be an interesting year to see how ereaders and ebooks will be accepted. I think that ereaders and ebooks are going to be accepted by a broad group of book readers. I hear in the circle of my friends, that ereaders have been given as gifts for Christmas. That is usually the sign that a new device is going to be accepted. These people are usually not the technology adopters, but they see the advantages of the device and of electronic book reading. Besides they are not ink addicts.

The incentive for ereaders in The Netherlands has come so far from the book side of the industry and not from the newspaper and magazine business. The magazine business has not undertaken any effort yet to introduce e-glossies. They keep developing printed glossies. In the newspaper sector, only NRC-Handelsblad has made an effort together with iRex Technologies, but other Dutch newspapers do not see any advantage in it. They tale a wait and see attitude. Given the small newspaper market with the largest title having some 500.000 copies distributed nationally, they probably do so rightfully.

So 2010 will be an interesting year. For me personnaly it will be also an interesting year in relation to books. I am due to have publish a book in Dutch on the pre-Internet online industry in The Netherlands; the title in English runs like: When digital media were still new. The books treats the period prior to the introduction of internet, when there was an online and CD-media  industry. In history it will cover the start of electronic publishing in 1967 and end on January 1, 1997. I am now writing the final version. The printed edition should be on the market in May 2010. There is no decision yet on an ebook version. The cover has been designed already by a friend of mine, the Italian artist Chiara Boeri. Dutch speaking readers can look at the announcement of the publisher Media-Update Vakpublicaties. If you want to be warned, when the book is published, please leave a comment or send an e-mail jak (at)

Update January 8, 2010
The Dutch market research bureau Creative Venue today published the figures:
- 14.000 ereaders sold;
- 63.000 ebooks sold;
- 2544 Dutch titles available;
- 121610 English titles available.

Blog Posting Number: 1414

Tags: ereader, ebook

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