Sales of Kobo and Amazon Kindle lead to e-reader success story as 8m in UK own one - despite competition from Apple iPad

Consumers aged 45-54 most likely to own device

Sales of e-readers such as Kobo and Amazon Kindle have been holding up strongly against mobile tablets such as Apple iPad, according to research out today.

Consultants Deloitte estimate eight million Britons now have an e-reader — equivalent to a third of households — with those aged 45-54 most likely to own device as they tend to be more affluent and keen readers.

Deloitte’s annual media consumer survey also found that one in 10 respondents plans to buy an e-reader in the next year. Mark Lee-Amies, partner at Deloitte, said  e-readers have sold well because they are relatively cheap — Kobo’s most basic model sells for under £50 — but he warned that could change as competition is hotting up from “aggressively priced all-purpose tablets” that offer video and games.

Todd Humphrey, Kobo’s executive vice-president of business development, said the popularity of e-readers showed consumers like a device dedicated to reading books.

“You read a lot that the black-and-white e-reader is going away and that tablets are taking over but we doubled our sales last year,” he said.

Deloitte said free titles and ones costing less than £1 are helping to drive demand for e-books, which make up about 14% of UK book sales by volume but only 7% of value.

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