Lots of interesting new statistics and graphs about iPad and Kindle 3 users, over at Nielsen.

Broadly, Kindle owners are older, affluent, and educated — while iPad owners are younger, 65% are male, and they have less education and are more susceptible to advertising. Typical Apple fan-boys, by the sound of it. I wonder if very many iPad users are regularly using it as an ebook reader? Not many, I’d guess — tiring backlit screen, heavy to hold, hot, short battery life, etc. iBooks sales are dire for contemporary fiction, apparently. I’d guess the iPad is skewing to a younger demographic because it’s more useful for “rich media” consumption on the move (I’ve actually heard it called the PornPad, in jest, although only once).

I’m currently formatting my books for the Kindle 3 and the Amazon store, now that they’ve finally opened a UK version, so I’m interested in the demographics and who’s actually buying. No doubt Amazon has the statistics, but it’s not telling. There are hints that they might be looking to sell 50-60 million ebooks in 2010 as a whole. So it’s useful to hear some basic facts from Nielsen, such as…

“Forty-four percent of [Kindle users] make more than $80,000/year” […] “27% having Master’s degrees or doctorates” […] “47% of Kindle owners [are under the age of 35]”

I guess we could always crowdsource some author sales, since the indie sellers must know how much they’re selling? Joe Konrath has recently breached the wall of secrecy, for instance…

“Konrath has just passed the 100,000 eBooks sold mark, and he has shared his numbers as to on which platforms the books were sold. To put the most important number up first, Konrath sold 78,412 of the 100,000 eBooks on Kindle.”

In the next few months, if Amazon can ship enough Kindle 3s into the key UK market to meet the pre-Christmas demand (I predict the Kindle being the No.1 most-wanted adult Xmas prezzie), then according to quotes in The Bookseller we’re about to see a…

“game-changing autumn” for the UK high street, with the possibility that “this autumn is going to be carnage”.

Now high street bookshops lost me many years ago to Amazon, Amazon used, Addall used, Google Books, and audio books — they’re completely irrelevant to me — but if the predictions are correct then I won’t take pleasure in seeing a national bookshop chain shuttered by next Spring.

National markets will no doubt become more important for ebooks, since Amazon is locking UK customers out of its U.S. Kindle store, and allowing sellers to set per-territory prices. I’m used to buying used print books from the USA, often cheaper even when the cost of Air Mail is added. That’s one of the “lock-in” factors that I don’t like about the Kindle. On the other hand, the ease of publishing straight onto Amazon and the 70% royalties are amazing (even though various factors mean it’s not actually 70% in the end).

Looking out to the 18-month horizon, Quercus recently reported that their ebook sales currently bring in “less than 2% of group revenue”, but the head of Quercus is quoted as saying that…

“I would be surprised if e-books weren’t 7.5% to 10% [of their revenue] in 18 months”.

And don’t think that piracy won’t be a factor. Oxford University Press recently had a huge leak of their PDF books onto Demonoid, for instance. We may even see the Kindle DRM being cracked on a rolling basis.

Lastly, I see that Amazon has launched Kindle for the Web into beta status. Basically, embed a sample of a book into your blog, just like YouTube. Nice. And get a slice of referral commission if someone buys the full version. Not a bad idea, given that the Kindle screen is about the same as a wide blog column.

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