The ebook market in Mexico is thriving despite the decline in physical books
There is little reading in Mexico, or at least that is what the latest figures from the National Institute of Geography and Statistics show, as only 3.7 books are consumed per year per user. However, several companies have had success with ebooks and audiobooks. According to Inegi, nine out of 10 people reported reading magazines, newspapers, books, ebooks, or internet pages during the last year and the average reading time spent on this activity is 50 minutes.
Faced with greater demand, some companies have sought to offer more. For example, Scribd, which announced that its catalog of ebooks and audiobooks in Spanish has reached 100,000 titles and has a new program focused on promoting Latin American women writers. Along with this addition of titles, the company introduced Scribd Audio, a new service that hosts 30 audiobooks and is growing, thanks to the support of publishers such as Anagrama, Almadía, Sexto Piso, El Colegio de México, Capitán Swing, Arpa Editores, and Plataforma Editorial.
While sales of physical books decreased 56.3% in 2020, according to the National Chamber of the Mexican Publishing Industry. Ebooks are setting an increasingly competitive pace in the world. According to data from Statista's Advertising & Media Outlook, e-book penetration still lags behind that of print books by a wide margin worldwide.
In the United States, for example, where e-books are very popular compared to physical books, it only had a market share of 23% among U.S. readers, while 45% of users who said they purchased a book preferred to do so in physical format. In the case of the Chinese market, 32.2% of users surveyed said they had purchased a physical book, but only 24.4% said they had purchased an ebook or audiobook. The remaining percentage said they consumed magazines and online media, but did not consume extra content beyond what is found on the internet.
These findings suggest that ebooks will not be the final nail in the coffin of print books, but rather a complementary product that should ultimately benefit the publishing industry. People may grab an e-reader on their way to the beach or commute to work, but there's nothing like the real thing.