Ebooks or electronic books have been around for a while. Ever since little digital versions of offline publications started appearing in PDF files, ebooks have been a fascinating little thing that has transgressed most forms of mobile digital devices. One country in the western world has however failed to capitalize on the revolution of ebooks and has been lagging behind in comparison to countries such as the US and the UK; and that is Canada. In the UK even supermarket chains such as Sainsbury’s have an ebook section but in Canada prior to Amazon deciding to bring the Kindle and the Amazon Store to them the only other real players were Sony and Kobo. Libraries on the other hand have faired better and the only reason behind that is Overdrive which has for long had a control over the market.
The electronic books market in the US is measured at a whopping 954 million dollars and that takes into consideration only the companies that normally publish their results. Major publishing companies including Penguin, Harper Collins, Hachette, mentions that the digital publishing business now provides 25% more revenue from what it did in 2011. Amazon’s Kindle which is the pioneer and the single largest player in the market boasts that ebooks are now outselling their printed counterparts and has played a big part in achieving 10 billion dollars in a single quarter.
With more and more international digital and offline publication businesses such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Apple iBooks making inroads into the Canadian market very few Canadian publishers worth their name, apart from Kobo and Newspaper Direct, have come up to stake their claim. It is interesting to note in this context that more than 16.3% of the Canadian book industry is now dominated by ebooks.
The problem is more in the mindset than in anything else. In a recent survey more than 50 venture capitalist firms in Canada were seen refusing to ever investing in companies having anything to do with ebooks. Their favorite avenues of investment being bio-tech, oil, mining and education, it is but a really gloomy picture for the Canadian digital publishing industry.