Forecast: E-book sales to mobile devices to reach $9.7B by 2016

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Sales of e-books to smartphones, tablets and dedicated e-readers are on pace to reach $9.7 billion worldwide by 2016, up from $3.2 billion this year, according to a new forecast issued by Juniper Research.

Mobile devices will generate close to 30 percent of all e-book downloads by 2016, Juniper anticipates, crediting increasing tablet penetration as well as the introduction of branded applications like Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iBookstore and Amazon.com's Kindle. While smartphones presently generate the majority of e-book downloads, fueled by manga downloads within the Japanese market, Juniper states that mobile handsets are not a primary reading device in other international regions. With storefront operators synchronizing e-book content across multiple devices, however, users will turn to their phones when their e-readers and tablets are unavailable.

Moving forward, Juniper expects that larger bookstore chains will increasingly seek to fuse their digital and physical content sales efforts. "The Barnes & Noble model has been to use its own brand e-reader--and its tablet application--to act as a bridge between online and in-store purchases," report author Dr. Windsor Holden said in a statement. "The other chains are picking up on that, launching their own devices, offering digital coupons to be redeemed in-store, reinforcing the relationship with the consumer."

Juniper adds that the adoption of the EPUB3 standard should create new opportunities for rich media titles and enhanced content across dedicated e-readers. The firm also expects e-book subscription pricing models to proliferate across corporate/educational content.

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