1 out of 4 Germans reads digitally – 1 out of 20 reads self-published books

Every fourth German reads books in digital form. That’s the result of a survey by the German trade association Bitkom where about 2500 people have contributed. The share of the eBook-readers has remained pretty much constant compared to the previous year. But around 35 percent of those not yet reading e-books can imagine to do so in the future.

The most important reading device is the laptop (41 Prozent), followed by the smartphone (38 Prozent). E-Readers are used by a third of the e-book-users. A fifth still uses a traditional computer or a tablet. In 2015, around 570.000 E-Readers will be sold in Germany according to Bitkom, which is a 25 percent decline.


Not surprisingly, the vast majority of users buys new e-books in online shops. Also, 13 percent are buying directly from authors. Favourite genre is, of course, fiction, especially with women (83 percent versus 75 percent for men). With non-fiction it’s the other way around: Men are leading with 44 versus 35 percent.

E-Book lending models are increasingly important. Half of e-book-readers already uses them! Public libraries are leading here with 32 percent, which is a sharp increase from 25 percent in 2014 and 17 percent in 2013. Commercial offers (Kindle Unlimited, Skoobe…) have a share of 19 percent (up from 16 percent).

A fifth of the e-book users told Bitkom that they like to read books by self published authors. That’s about 4 million Germans. Three quarters answered “don’t know” – which actually is a good sign as that means they cannot distinguish a good book by a publisher from a good book by an indie.

(The german version of the article can be read here)

About Matthias Matting

Born 1966. University degree in physics, journalist for major news magazines for more than 20 years. Started self publishing in 2011 when KDP came to Germany, subsequently became the author of the Amazon bestselling eBook 2011. Started blog selfpublisherbibel.de in early 2013, now a leading information resource for authors in Germany. Currently working part time with a German publisher and as an author / expert / speaker / freelance journalist. Published around 50 titles so far with total sales of approx. 180.000, mostly non-fiction.

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