Long way to go in e-books for Turkish publishing industry

Long way to go in e-books for Turkish publishing industry

June 06, 2011, Monday/ 16:42:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN WITH WIRES

E-books might have taken the publishing industry by storm in the West over the past few years, particularly in the United States, but in Turkey the industry is still its early stages, experts say.

Mehmet İnhan, the general manager of the online bookstore, which introduced e-book sales in the Turkish market a year ago, said in an interview with the Anatolia news agency on Monday that the e-book market in Turkey was still in the very early phases of its development, with only 1,500 books released in electronic format a year.

İnhan noted that in the US, the birthplace of electronic books, e-books accounted for around 7 percent of the total number of books published a year, while in Europe this average was around 3 percent. İnhan also added that there has been a 200 percent growth in the e-book industry in the US over the past year.

“In Turkey, we have not yet reached a level that is statistically significant,” said İnhan. “In the countries mentioned, hundreds of thousands of e-books are in circulation, whereas in Turkey, the number of books that have been released in e-book format [in one year] is only 1,500.”

The number of e-book readers available in the electronics market in Turkey is also low, İnhan said, adding that they expected Turkey to reach the current rates in the West in the next four to five years.

İnhan said that as of May, e-book sales accounted for 8 percent of his company’s total sales. “Our authors and translators are not yet fully aware of what’s going on in the sector. Publishers in Turkey only managed to release 1,500 titles in e-book format, however, the [Turkish publishing] industry produces more than 30,000 titles annually,” he said.

He said the reasons for the reluctance in the industry could be linked to a lack of trust in electronic copies. “Publishers who venture in the e-book business initially have doubts over its effects on the sales of hardcopies, thinking sales of e-books will shrink their revenue [from printed copies]. They’re also concerned about copyright. However, each e-book comes with a special code that allows the book to be read only on the specified electronic reader. So actually, e-books are even safer than printed copies [regarding copyright infringement].”

Also touching upon the benefits of electronic books for publishers, İnhan added: “E-books require no paper, no printing press, no stockpiles. There’s no chance of running out of copies. The income from e-book sales is solid revenue.”

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