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For B2C Marketing Professionals

The Battle For The eBook Consumer

As Barnes & Noble Enters The Fray, eBook Sales Are Still Anybody's Game

December 3, 2009

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  • By Sarah Rotman Epps
  • with Mark Mulligan,
  • Laura Wiramihardja

Why Read This Report

When Barnes & Noble (B&N) launched its nook eReader at the aggressive price of $259 — a full $140 cheaper than other eReaders on the market with similar features — it drew attention to its long-term strategy: to profit on a lifetime of content sales to eBook consumers. Consumers don't own digital libraries of books, as they did with music: When MP3 players came out, most consumers owned CDs that they could easily burn to a computer and download to a device. Not so with books. While catalyzed by single-function eReaders like the Kindle, eBook content sales will occur across multiple devices, including desktops, laptops, netbooks, and smartphones, as well as tablet PCs, MIDs, and portable gaming devices. In this report, we look at data from a mail survey of 4,711 US consumers to understand consumer eReading behavior across devices. We also examine the consumer followings of six companies —, Apple, B&N, Sony, Target, and Wal-Mart — to understand which company might be best positioned to compete for the loyalties of the eBook consumer.

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