Where are eBook Going to Pop Up Next?
The World Public Library Blog Newsletter
Volume 1, Number 13
Monday, Jun 27, 2011
by Michael S. Hart
Founder, Project Gutenberg,
Inventor of eBooks
Where are eBook Going to Pop Up Next?
My own personal predictions go in more than one direction, as I predict more and more eBooks will go to The Pacific Rim due to economic developments there and I also predict a different kind of eBook expansion in different cases, concerning mutual expansions of two different kinds of eBooks:
What you see here at The World Public Library is a non-profit of the 501(c)(4) variety, and at Project Gutenberg and at the Internet Archive of the 501(c)(3) variety, but what the media report on is mainly the commercial variety of Barnes & Noble, with the nook, Amazon with the Kindle, Apple with the various iPads, iPhones, iPods, etc., and a host of other makers of an increasing variety of eReader devices.
Most people seem surprised that India is one of the largest-- if not THE largest--eBook downloader in the whole world.
1. India will soon have the largest population in the world.
2. English is pretty much a second language in India.
3. Literacy and education are highly valued in India.
Personally, I believe that as cellphones and other devices to read eBooks become ubiquitous in India, and in other locales, that it will become more and more obvious to populations that there are millions of eBooks to be downloaded at very minimal expense, and that these can be exchanged back and forth at an even smaller expense, and this will drive an ever increasing, and ever more meaningful increase in literacy and education-- which is a goal of The World Public Library, Internet Archive and Project Gutenberg.
If we can double India's literacy rate and education rate and hopefully the rest of the world as we expand our services, we hope to pave the way for a Neo-Renaissance, and even more.
Obviously the rise in commercial eBooks is limited mostly for areas in which there is enough wealth to pay for them, but in other areas without such wealth, there is a limited attention to providing such commercial access.
One of the ways people measure such commercial access avenues is to count up the people who have a million dollars, or more to invest in whatever might suit their fancy. Obviously some of these investments will be in commercial eBooks and make an entirely new vista of commercial reading opportunities.
Believe it or not, over one half of all of those with million dollar investment reserves live in these three countries:
Obviously there are going to be plenty of eBook opportunities in those three countries in a wide variety of ways.
However, this has not always been the case.
Growth of these "High Net Worth Individuals" or HNWIs, pretty much slowed to a stop between 2007 to 2009, but has recovered to approximately a 10% growth level again in 2009 to 2010 and appears to be doing as well in 2011.
This, in part, reveals why this year has been labeled:
"The Year of the eBook" by so many professional pundits.
More and more eBooks and eBook devices have been appearing in a marketplace that did not really see much action previously, and now that this marketplace has been established it appears it will be hard to stop it, even during another downturn, and as per my prediction at the top about The Pacific Rim, number increases of these "High Net Worth Individuals" increased for the first time in The Asia Pacific region to pass Europe!!!
China alone already has half a million individual HNWIs, that could invest, if they wanted, half a trillion dollars in some new markets such as eBooks.
This is a trend well worth watching in the future as economic interests will followed these wealthy individual investors in greater and greater proportion and will support my prediction of eBook penetration in The Pacific Rim marketplace.
If you don't believe me, just ask anyone who was watching the Wimbledon tennis championships all this last week and you are going to be surprised at how many Chinese ads there were!!!
Not just for Chinese companies such as Lenovo, but for China, the country, showing off a new bullet train that looks like a supersonic airplane combined with a race car.
To accomplish this the Chinese must have invested millions in creating these advertisements and more millions putting these on the air where even a casual observer would notice them.
I should add that these various devices are also penetrating, en masse, into The Persian Gulf, as well, and will continue a growing market there as long as oil remains profitable and of course in the United States and Canada.
In closing, Hong Kong, that famous financial empire builder, surpassed all others in the growth of HNWIs:
Up a full one third, or 33.33% compared to approximately 10%, or so, for its major competitors.
So, I would expect Hong Kong to became a place with an eBooks future worth watching.