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A Quarter of All Spanish ISBNs Are Used for eBooks

April 5th, 2012 by · 1 Comment · statistics

Here’s an interesting footnote to Amazon’s new Spanish language Kindle store.

The ebook market is growing  by leaps and bounds in the US and UK, that much we know. But today I found a bit of info that gives a hint about adoption elsewhere.

The Spanish ISBN agency has reported that a full 26% of the ISBN codes registered in March were used specifically for ebooks. Note that this is for the Spanish market, not US or European, but it’s still a stellar increase. BTW, the other 74% covers all paper editions, which means ebooks probably  are one of the most produced formats.

Note that this doesn’t tell us how many are being sold, but it does show that Spanish publishers are seriously investing in ebooks. Well, they’re investing in PDF (70% of the ebook ISBNs), which I’m not sure qualifies as an ebook.  Epub only made up a fifth of the ebook ISBNs, with Kindle counting for another 5%.

Another source did some math on the stats and they reported that ebooks made up 22% of ISBNs registered last quarter and 17% for the 2011 calender year.

I have looked for similar numbers for the US market, and I’ve been told that it’s difficult to estimate. I was also told that the US numbers would only be approximate, so I would be cautious about reading too much into the Spanish numbers.

If I get the US numbers (or anywhere else), I will amend this post. On a related note, does anyone know what type of content is going into the PDFs mentioned above? Based on the general spread of all the ISBNs registered, I’m guessing technical and educational, but I don’t know for sure. But whatever it is, clearly the content isn’t being released as Epub.

What really interesting about these numbers is that they don’t jive with the Bowker survey results. Amazon accounted for 30% of purchases and yet publishers are only registering 5% of their content in that format. I think they could be missing something (besides the probability that Spanish ebook buyers are getting content from over the border).

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