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UK e-book sales revenue will overtake hardbacks in 2014 and close in on paperbacks by 2016, an Oliver & Ohlbaum (O&O) forecast presented to London Book Fair’s Digital Minds conference showed.
Amazon and Waterstones reported e-book sales overtook hardbacks by volume last year. The lag indicates the lower prices that digital content can fetch compared with physical counterparts.
“While current publisher margins are higher on e-books than physical books, average retail prices are lower,” O&O said.
The analyst house reckons a quarter of the UK population will regularly buy e-books by 2017 – that is 40 percent of all regular book-buyers.
All of that will push total UK book sales by volume up 8.5 percent by 2017, O&O reckons. But, thanks to that dimes-for-dollars challenge, retail value will dip by 10 percent over the same period.
O&O thinks half of books, regardless of format, will be sold online by 2015.