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Access to digitized content will drive global e-reader market: report

Access to more digital content is the key to increasing e-reader device sales around the world, says a new report on the e-reader market from trend forecaster ABI Research.

Digital content is now readily available to consumers in America. Much of the country's literature has been converted to digital formats, making it easier (and more often than not, cheaper) for consumers to download a book on their digital device than it might be to go to the store and purchase the physical book.

Widespread availability of digital content has meant that Americans have become early adopters of e-reading technology.

"Digitized content is the key," says ABI Research's principal analyst Jeff Orr in a December 6 statement to the press. "It has been in the United States that the most content has been translated to digital form. The companies that provide the devices also maintain tightly-integrated content stores that make access easy."

Consumers in other countries have not been so quick to catch on to the craze, especially those living in non-English speaking regions, but that trend is set to change, says ABI.

"In two or three years we will enter a period in which much more digital printed matter will become available in other countries and regions. Western Europe will be first, followed by Eastern Europe and Asia, especially China."

By 2013 global e-reader sales will top 30 million units, more than double the number of units expected to sell in 2012, and the e-reader market will start to expand globally.

One fact will remain constant into 2013, believes ABI: "The device brand isn't as important as the content: success will increasingly depend on the strength of the relationship between reader and content provider. Non-US markets will be less driven by booksellers, and more by publishers and perhaps even network operators."

On December 6 Google announced it was launching the world's biggest e-book store, making more than 3 million e-books available to a range of e-reading devices (including laptops, netbooks, tablets, smartphones and e-readers) through its new Google eBooks store. Google's e-books are currently only available for download within the US.