E-books first became available to the public as early as 2000. Since their introduction to the digital market, they have morphed into some of the most popular online buys and they now account for around 20 percent of all works of literature purchased. However, most of these downloads are available through the online seller Audible, whose exclusive deal with Apple and Amazon recently came under fire. International regulators have called for the partnership among the three companies to be dissolved to clear the path to the ebook marketplace for other book sellers.
The End of Audible’s Amazon-and-Apple Exclusivity
Since 2003 to this day, people who have purchased Apple or Android devices can only buy books from Audible. Audible has been the exclusive partner for Amazon and Apple when it comes to the distribution of ebooks, magazines, and other literary products. However, with Audible being an American company, critics argued that it shut out competition across Europe and elsewhere since Audible has built a veritable monopoly on the ebook market.
So, global regulators were called upon to investigate Audible’s exclusivity deal with Amazon and Apple to determine if it was truly placed competitors in Europe and other countries in an unfavorable position. Regulators found that the partnership between the three companies was indeed unfair and in violation of monopoly laws. Their findings compelled Amazon and Apple to withdraw their exclusivity deal with Audible and distribute their devices via other ebook companies throughout the world. The end of the partnership is expected to propel new ebook companies to new heights as more people are interested in these products.
Audible, however, will remain on the ebook market and still offer products to Apple and Amazon’s clients. Some global marketplace watchers predict that Audible will continue to thrive and keep its profits as it has an established brand recognition with ebook buyers. People looking to buy new ebooks might hesitate to do business with lesser known companies and instead opt to buy the literary works they want from Audible.
The Popularity of Print over Digital Books
Despite ebooks being a fixture in the digital download market, they take a back seat to their printed counterparts. In fact, statistics show that while 28 percent of adults report reading at least one ebook in the last year, more than 69 percent also say that they prefer reading print books to buying and downloading a digital book.
The reasons for the popularity of print books remains hotly debated in the editorial industry. However, some people say that the majority of readers today are adults over the age of 44. People in this age group may lack the access to mobile devices or smartphones or simply lack the understanding or patience to buy and download ebooks.
Others say that print books are still regarded as prized possessions that command a certain level of respect while also giving a notable amount of enjoyment. People love having a book to add to their collection and hold in their hands as they read. Still, others argue that even with cloud technology, readers may hesitate to invest in ebooks because of the fears of not being able to access their books if they switch or upgrade devices. These reasons could account for why print books remain top sellers over their digital counterparts.
Audible has built a stronghold in the ebook market with its exclusivity deal with Apple and Amazon. That deal is about to come to an end, allowing other ebook companies to access these digital marketplaces. Even so, people who want to collect books of their favorite authors still favor print books.
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