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E-reader market taking off with Kindle proving king of the UK ebook world this Christmas

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The demand for ebook downloads has leapt since Christmas when a vast number of people received iPads and ebook readers – largely Kindles and Sony Readers – as gifts. Over the festive period 7% of British adults received a dedicated e-reader, bringing the total number of adults with e-readers to around 6.5m, or 13% of the adult population, according to a new survey by Book Marketing Limited.

On top of that around 4% said they had new iPads, which points to three million iPads having been sold in the UK in total, two million of which flooded into the market over Christmas 2010.

The figures also show that 61% of those who received an e-reader for Christmas have since downloaded a paid for ebook, with the average new e-reader owner buying 5.9 ebooks.

The figures are based on interviews with 2,000 respondents over the period between December 25 2010 and January 31 2011. Calculations suggest that as many as 10m ebooks have been purchased in the UK since Christmas, not a long way behind the 18.6m print books sold over the same period.

According to Book Marketing Limited, the Kindle has proved the most popular device among book fans, with 24% of those who downloaded an ebook using Amazon’s heavily promoted device. It seems the iPhone plays a big part in this new book channel too, with 19% of downloaders using one to acquire digital content to read. The Sony Reader appears to have been overtaken in popularity by Kindle. The stats show that 5% of adults received a Kindle for Christmas, compared to just 1% getting a Sony Reader.

In January announced that ebook sales had eclipsed total sales of paperbacks in the US, although combined sales of paperbacks and hardbacks are well ahead of the electronic format. is now selling more Kindle books than paperback books,” said a statement. “Since the beginning of the year, for every 100 paperback books Amazon has sold, the company has sold 115 Kindle books. Additionally, during this same time period the company has sold three times as many Kindle books as hardcover books.”

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