A year ago, most U.S. ebook publishers predicted a bright future for ebook reading on mobile phones — in other countries. The going assumption had been that, in the U.S., people will buy special ebook readers, like the Amazon Kindle, instead, while mobile ebooks will become a hit in emerging markets, such as Indonesia and Vietnam, where people don’t have the money to buy specialized devices. Well, it looks like the publishers had been wrong.
According to Oct. 27 report from Wattpad, the maker of the world’s most popular software for ebook reading on mobile phones, the “US replaced Indonesia as the leading country in mobile ebook consumption in [the third] quarter.”
What gives? Apparently, ebook reading is super-popular on the Apple iPhone, and neither Indonesia nor Vietnam offer the device, according to Wattpad. “In the non-iPhone market, Indonesia and Vietnam together contribute to more than two third of the market,” according to the report. Currently, iPhone owners consume 42.1% of all mobile ebooks served up via Wattpad, which tracks ebook usage in 160 countries. And 78% of all iPhone ebook usage comes from North America.