The UK Publishers Association has just revealed that the number of e-readers in the United Kingdom doubled over Christmas.
How cool is that? One in twelve adults in Britain received an e-reader as a Christmas present, and there are now 6.5 million adults with them, equivalent to 13 per cent of the population.
Of course the Kindle was the most popular and one in four of e-book users now have one. According to the Publishers Association, almost two-thirds of the adults who were given an e-reader for Christmas immediately downloaded a paid-for e-book and the average new user has already bought six books. The PA suggests that up to ten million e-books have been sold in the UK since Christmas compared with almost 17 million dead tree books.
Was I surprised? Absolutely not. In fact, I predicted this would happen back in October last year. I knew that the Kindle was about to become the most-gifted item ever in the UK and so I put three of my books up on Kindle in late October. I spent November and December marketing the books so that on Christmas Day I had all three in the Top 5 of the Kindle Bestseller list.
I knew that on Christmas morning hundreds of thousands (though even I didn’t predict three million!) of people would be opening their Christmas presents and discovering that they had an e-reader. And I knew that the first thing they would do would be to start buying books and that many would go to the Kindle bestseller list for suggestions. And that’s why I sold 7,000 copies on Christmas Day, another 5,000 on Boxing Day, and 44,000 in December as a whole.
It was a total one-off and will almost certainly never be repeated. But one thing is for sure – the number of e-readers in the UK is going to continue to rise.