eReader Ownership in the United States

According to the results of the latest survey on eReader ownership in the U.S. conducted by GK MRI, their were nearly 6 million owners of electronic book reading devices in this country between March 1 and October 31, 2010.

Forty-nine percent of the respondents to the survey, taken between March and October, 2010, were male; fifty-one percent were female. The study included only owners of portable, wireless reading devices (e.g., Kindle, Nook, Kobi and Sony); and did not include owners of laptops, tablet PCs (e.g., iPads), smartphones (e.g., Androids) or PDAs. [GK MRI is taking a similar survey among owners of tablet PCs, the results of which are expected to be published later this spring.]

The total number of eReader owners estimated from the results of this study was 5.9 million, versus the 2.1 million estimated owners from a previous study taken by GK MRI during the period between March 1 and October 31, 2009: an increase of 3.8 million eReader owners — 181 percent — in one year!

This is just one reason why I am so optimistic about the future of eBook publishing in this country.

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There’s a Market for Your eBook

First, before I get into my spiel on the value of eBook publishing, let me say from the outset that I am not referring to the eBooks written as shill-pieces for get-rich-quick schemes. I’m talking about legitimate works of fiction or non-fiction in various categories, written to entertain or inform their readerships.

Right now there is a mega boom of these eBooks being published. Thanks to the likes of Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and smashwords.com, and many other eBooksellers, eBook sales have risen steadily since 2009, now to the point where they’ve exceeded the sales of trade paperbacks in all major categories.

So much so, that the New York Times recently reported the first million-copy sales of an eBook, Girls with the Dragon Tattoo, by Swedish author Stieg Larsson, whose Millennium trilogy, including The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest has sold a combined total of more than 3 million eBooks.

Now comes news that J.K. Rowling is close to a decision on re-publishing  her 7-book Harry Potter series as eBooks.

All of this is driven, of course, by two factors: the love affair of the young, near-adults and “Millennials” with the eReader, smartphone and the emerging tablet PC technolgy with built-in eReading software. A new Gartner Research study forecasts that, in 2011, eReader sales should surpass 11 million units, 68 percent more than in 2010. The influx of these new tablet PCs, with eReader capability, could very well accelerate exponentially the growth of the market for some eBook fiction and non-fiction categories.

This trend has been seen, to some extent, in my own chosen category of religious eBooks. In fact, it looks as if the sales curve for this category is on a definite upswing, which is welcome news for Christian eBook authors who want to spread Christ’s teacings in a way most effective in reaching the younger generations in this country — on their Kindles, Nooks, Kobos, Androids, iPads, iPod touch, or tablet PCs.

The upshot of all this is that, no matter what genre you write in, there’s a market for your eBooks — if you can turn out a well-written and well-formatted fiction or non-fiction manuscript for the various publishers’ eBook conversion processes.