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Russian Ebook Market Matures, Shows More Potential for Growth

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By Eugene Gerden

Consultancy IDC is claiming Russia is now the world’s third largest ebook market, trailing only China (in 2nd) and the United States (first).

It’s research claims that during the first nine months of 2013, Russia was able to overtake the United Kingdom and Brazil to take the third position. And sales continue to boom, with a 25% growth in the third quarter over the previous quarter.

According to Sergei Anuriev, CEO of LitRes, Russia’s largest distributor and seller of e-books, the Russian market of electronic books is expected to reach 500 million rubles (USD $16.12 million), which is almost double that of 2012, when it was at the level of 260 million rubles. According to Anuriev, since 2011 the market has increased by almost 200% and there is a possibility that the boom will continue over the next several years.

In terms of market structure, up to 34% of the market accounted for purchases from mobile devices, including ebook readers, tablets and smartphones. Nevertheless, the biggest segment remains purchases from personal computers and laptops.

However, according to analysts of J’son & Partners Consulting, the sales structure of the market will significantly change  by 2016, when the share of purchases from mobile devices will reach 77%, while the remaining 23% from PCs and laptops. J’son also believes that e-books currently remain the most promising segment of the Russian digital content marketplace.

Ereader Sales in Decline

While ebook sales take off, the sale of ereaders in Russia are steadily declining as customers show a marked preference for tablet computers. Over the first 10 months of 2013, some 1.2 million units were sold, a drop of 21% less when compared to the same period of 2012.

According to Alexander Malis, president of Euroset, Russia’s largest mobile phone and e-book retailer, suggests that as the ebook market expands, Russian consumer’s superior purchasing power gives it enough potential to potentially overtake China to become the world’s second largest market.

This article was updated at January 9, 10 a.m. to reflect debate and doubt about status and ranking of global Russian ebook market and claims made by IDC.

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  1. Posted January 9, 2014 at 4:09 am | Permalink

    Your story is ridiculous! The Russian E-Book market is less than ONE TWENTIETH of the UK market!!!
    According to the British PA, consumer ebook sales rose 134 per cent in 2012, reaching £216million, with total digital sales up 66 per cent to £411million (encompassing ebooks, audiobooks downloads and online subscriptions). E-Books accounted for 12 per cent of the total book market in 2012, up from 8 per cent in 2011, and 5 per cent in 2010. The upward trend continued in 2013.

  2. Posted January 9, 2014 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    Could it be that the report refers to number of titles rather than revenues generated?

  3. Posted January 9, 2014 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    ‘Could it be that piracy is on the wane in Russia?” your next article states/asks…. SBPRA is NOT going to take that chance with our authors’ work.

  4. Posted January 9, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Given the lack of data these sort of claims can only ever be indicative, but it’s a not an unreasonable proposition. Combine a large and increasingly cash-rich population spread across a huge land area with the ease of digital reading and the availability of cheap devices to read on and a massive boom is inevitable.

    Comparing how much money a particular country turns over from ebooks is neither here nor there.

    What is clear is that the global ebook market is going to eclipse the American market many times over, and trad publishing is going to reap the rewards both in digital, audio and POD as they shift their print production to localized POD arenas.

    The future of publishing has never been brighter.

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