One in five Kindle ebook buyers don’t own a Kindle

Alex Pham, over the L.A. TimesCompany Town blog, reports on the ebooks market. Specifically, a new ebook market report from Cowen and Co. of San Francisco…

“Turns out the iPad has actually helped Amazon. Not only are sales of the Kindle device expected to grow 140% this year to nearly 5 million units from 2009, but digital book sales via the Kindle store are on track to grow 195% to $701 million in 2010, according to Cowen and Co., which released a report Monday on the digital book market.”

“one in five people who buy digital books from the Kindle store don’t own a Kindle device, according to Cowen’s survey.”

I’d love to see the methodology of the survey, but if correct it suggests we need to stop hitting the ‘desaturate’ option in Photoshop, and stop putting b&w covers inside Kindle books. Put in colour versions, and then leave the Kindle to do the conversion when it hits the Kindle page. Those not viewing on the Kindle will see the colour version.

There’s probably some qualification to be made on the point that…

“Among hard-core readers who go through 25 books or more a year, 44% prefer using Kindle on the iPad, compared with 47% for iBooks — virtually a dead heat.”

That’s measuring apples and pears, I suspect. Broadly, I’d suspect that the numbers look like that because while Kindle readers are readers of books for pleasure, iPad readers are more commonly using books as reference sources. The professional demographic of iPad readers will tend toward them carrying around all the monstrously heavy techie DIY manuals and business tomes they require for their job, such as the 800 titles released today by O’Reilly for Apple’s iBookstore (U.S. only). (O’Reilly titles are already available for the Kindle). And possibly the survey was skewed toward that group due to the survey being done in a techie hotbed such as San Francisco, but without seeing the report I can’t say.

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