Russian e-book sales overtaking sales of the real thing

By bne IntelliNews February 1, 2013

bne -

Russians love nothing better than a good book and the country enjoys one of the highest literacy rates in the world, but the sale of printed books fell last year once again as increasingly large numbers of Russians switch to e-books.

The number of books published in 2012 fell to 540.4m copies, almost 12% less than the total from the previous year, which itself followed a 6% decline the year before. The number of titles printed in 2012 also fell 5% from the year before, from 122,915 titles to 116,888, according to a Russian Book Chamber report.

However, Russians are reading as much as ever, having switched to e-books as internet usage has grown and they become more available to download. A survey from the Romir research firm found that 65% of Russians have switched from buying print to electronic books in the last five years.

While there is no data on e-book sales for 2012, in 2011 legal sales of e-books in Russia increased almost 2.3-times and was worth RUB135m rubles ($4.4m), compared with RUB60m in 2010 and RUB11m rubles in 2008, according to the federal agency for mass media.

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