Original Paper

Publishing Research Quarterly

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 95-104

First online:

Electronic Books in the 2003–2005 Period: Some Reflections on Their Apparent Potential and Actual Development

  • Gemma TowleAffiliated withDepartment of Information Science, Loughborough University
  • , James A. DearnleyAffiliated withDepartment of Information Science, Loughborough University Email author 
  • , Cliff McKnightAffiliated withDepartment of Information Science, Loughborough University

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This paper, based on PhD research, reflects upon the market for electronic books in the general trade sectors of UK and US publishers during the early years of the 21st century. The paper reports on interviews carried out with publishers between 2003 and 2005, and reflects upon four areas which presented and still present challenges to the uptake of e-books—negative perceptions from consumers; formats; pricing and issues regarding digital rights. The paper concludes that the development and uptake of electronic books has some way to go in the general trade/mass-market sectors.


Electronic book Digital rights management Electronic formats