Kobo book report puts global ebook sales at $14.5 billion

Ebooks and ereaders have changed the way we read. Gone are the paper cuts and the pilgrimages to the book store or library to find something new to read.

It’s also opened up a new form of piracy. Now that digital books are more common, an increasing number of people are downloading their books, though just how many books are downloaded illegally is hard to say. According to one estimation from last year, 20 percent of ebooks downloaded worldwide in 2011 were pirated.

The good news is that despite this the ebook market remains robust and will continue to grow over the next couple of years. Kobo has released a report that says the global ebook market will surpass $20 billion in the next few years.

The Toronto-based company has released its first report on ereading trends, which looks at readers habits going back as far last year’s holiday season. According to Kobo, the ebook market accounts for $14.5 billion in sales globally and is expected to top $22 billion in the next two years.

“The advances that we’re seeing year-over-year are incredible, with more publishers, users and new technology changing the face of the industry at an unprecedented pace,” Kobo chief content officer Michael Tamblyn said in a statement.

So what types of books are the most popular with the ereading masses? Here in Canada, romance was the most engaging genre, with 62% of purchased romance novels read from start to finish. This was followed by fantasy (60%) and mystery (59%).

What’s more, according to Kobo’s data (gleaned from its own platform), Canadians love nothing more than to curl up with a good book in the cold winter months. Over the 2013 holiday season, Canadians read almost 300 million virtual pages. A whopping 16 million of those were read on Christmas day alone.