eBooks will hit £1b by 2018 and eclipse printed books

eBooks are on tracks to outsell traditional printed books by 2018 with new figures showing the market is on track to hit £1 billion in the coming years.

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A report from Pricewaterhouse Coopers [PwC] suggests the consumer eBook market, which doesn’t include professional manuals or text books, will increase from £380 million to £1 billion whilst during the same period printed sales will drop by a third.

Driving this trend is the fact that 50 per cent of the UK population will own an iPad, Kobo, Kindle or other eReader by 2018, according to PwC, and it goes against the predictions made by one bookshop owner.

The BBC reports that Tim Waterstone, founder of the bookshop bearing his surname, told the Oxford Literary Festival in March that "every indication - certainly from America - shows the [e-book] share is already in decline. The indications are that it will do exactly the same in the UK."

PwC entertainment and media partner Phil Stokes railed against this by stating, "this growth is being driven by the internet and by consumers' love of new technology, particularly mobile technology."

To illustrate this he pointed to a wider trend that will see the UK entertainment market reach £64 billion by 2018 and the amount of apps downloads to hit 15.5 billion in number by the same year.

"The entertainment and media industry is at the forefront of the digital revolution, because so many of its products and services can already be delivered in digital form,” Stokes said. "It may not be long before digital revenues from print, film, publishing and music overtake physical revenues in some markets."

Related: Amazon chief Bezos blames publishers and “rights owners” for blocking e-book borrowing

Amazon held 79 per cent of the UK eBook market between March and May 2013 with Apple’s iBooks holding just nine per cent in comparison and Google’s search ending came third on eight per cent.