Russian Ebook Market Matures, Shows More Potential for Growth

In Growth Markets by Eugene Gerden

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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.

About the Author

Eugene Gerden

Eugene Gerden is an international freelance writer who specializes in covering global book publishing and bookselling industry.