Category Archives: India ebook promotion

India – The Race For Local-Language Internet Supremacy Has Begun. Indie Authors, Prepare Now For The Opportunities Ahead.

India e-commerce

There are three major e-commerce players in India right now. Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon.

Of those only one – Amazon – is now selling ebooks, but don’t give up on this story yet, because what Snapdeal is doing right now is going to alter the Indian e-commerce landscape.

So far the internet in India has been very much an English-language affair. India may be the second largest English-speaking nation in the world, but English is spoken by a substantial minority of Indians.

And for those that don’t speak, read or write in English, the internet – and especially the field of e-commerce – has been of limited interest.

There are great sites in local languages, of course, and some ebook retailers specialize in local-language titles, but English has been the driving force in internet take-up in the country thus far.

But not for much longer.

As Google’s South Asia VP said earlier this year, the next 100 million internet users will not be in English.

The proliferation of smartphones has made internet access a global phenomenon in a way that was quite impossible even five years ago. Globile (global mobile) has allowed nations to simply skip the desktop era of cable internet access and go straight from no internet to 3G/4G internet pretty much overnight.

In India, the fastest-growing smartphone market, globile is changing lives as internet access becomes available to even the remotest parts of the subcontinent.

But with English a minority language (a mere 150 million speakers) the shift to embrace local languages on the net was always just a matter of time.

That time has come. And Snapdeal is the first of the big Indian e-commerce sites to grasp this nettle.

Snapdeal, generally acknowledged as the second largest player after Flipkart, is rolling out the Snapdeal site not just in English but in Hindi and Telegu with immediate effect, and by end January will have Snapdeal options in nine other regional languages – Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Assamese and Punjabi. (LINK)

Flipkart will follow suit in no time at all.

Amazon? Well, this is going to be interesting to watch.

Amazon’s focus is on the middle class niche who largely coincide with the English-speakers, not the whole population. With its limited payment options in a country where over 90% of the population do not have bank cards that’s unlikely to change.

In the Kindle store Amazon currently supports only one local language, and there are just a handful of titles available.

That’s not so important right now, when over 50% of print titles sold in India are in English. But that’s more to do with availability and affordability than reader preference.

As innovative local-language digital players like Rockstand and Dailyhunt are clearly showing, when local language ebooks are made available and affordable, Indian readers are snapping them up.

And now Snapdeal have just opened the door to local-language engagement with the internet in India at a whole new level.

It seems unlikely Snapdeal will be selling ebooks in the foreseeable future, but the idea that the internet in India will remain the preserve of English-speakers is now redundant.

More and more Indians will be coming online looking for local language content, including books and ebooks.

And many – probably most – Indians who do speak English likely do so as a second language learned at school, rather than their family conversational language at home, and will welcome content in their first language.

There are fantastic opportunities here for internationalist indie authors willing to go the extra mile and seek out translations in as many local languages as possible, for ebooks, print, audio and beyond.

By beyond I mean, for example, promo, blogging, social media engagement, etc.

It’s not commercially viable for me to have The International Indie Author blog and FB pages translated into other languages right now, but it’s certainly something I’m looking at for the future. if we want to fully engage with the world we will have to address translations not just of our books but of our wider social media presence.

But let’s focus on books for now.

Earlier this year India leapfrogged the UK to become the second largest English-language book market in the world. It’s now the sixth largest book market on the planet overall.

And it will get much bigger as smartphones make internet access available to literally hundreds of millions of Indians who previously had no way of getting online.

Many will be buying ebooks, and many more will be using their smartphones to buy print books from online stores.

We are going to see a big surge in local language take-up of books, across all formats, over the next five years.

Savvy indies will be positioning themselves now to enjoy the ride.

# # #
For daily news and discussion about the global indie publishing scene join this lively Facebook Group.

 

 

Are Instagram. Pinterest And Tumblr Hot For Indie Authors? You'd Better Believe It!

TNG SMP 2014

A word of warning. This post is about The Next Generation social media opportunities available to indie authors wanting to expand their global reach. If that isn’t of interest, don’t read on.

If it is of interest, enjoy! And in particular pay attention to the graphic above.

# # #

When it comes to The Next Generation social media platforms many indies are letting pass us by, there are so many to choose from it’s understandable most of us just keep focused on Facebook and twitter and hope the rest will fade away.

Meantime savvy indies willing to step outside the box are doing extraordinarily well on these “new” platforms, many of which have actually been around for several years.

Take Tumblr, for instance.

Now Tumblr may be the last place you’d expect to find authors raking it in selling book on. But its gets crazier still.

Try poetry books.

Try completely unknown poets selling not tens, hundreds or even thousands, but hundreds of thousands of poetry books. And mostly in print, yet.

All thanks to social media sites like Tumblr and Instagram.

One poet, Tyler Knott Gregson, has accumulated over a half million followers on Tumblr and Instagram.

According to a post on Publishing Perspectives, “Out of the 10 best selling poetry books in the U.S., three are by poets who built followings on social media.” (LINK)

The post goes on, “…New Zealand–based (Lang) Leav(‘s) poems took off the moment she began posting them on Tumbler in 2012.” She now has almost a million followers.

Leav’s followers wanted to read her poetry in print. So she self-published – and sold 10,000 copies in the first month.

Which in turn led to an agent and trad pub deal and she’s since sold 300,000 copies. All thanks to being on Tumblr.

For internationalist indie authors there’s an interesting parallel here with addressing the global markets.

Most indies are focused on the overcrowded and hugely competitive US market to the exclusion of all else.

Just like most indies are focused on promotion using the overcrowded and hugely competitive social media platforms like Facebook and twitter to the exclusion of all else.

And yes, of course, those who hit the big time really hit the big time.

But the cold reality is, most of us don’t.

Likewise most of us use Facebook and twitter with moderate and usually ever-diminishing results, just as most of see moderate and ever-diminishing returns in the US book market.

In both cases the lesson is clear.

Stepping outside our comfort zones can bring its own rewards.

Being big fishes in small ponds can be very rewarding indeed.

And best of all, once you gain traction in these small ponds you grow as those ponds grow.

Those who are reading this at all have presumably already made the leap of faith and appreciate that, while the US market remains the biggest ebook and book player right now, the collective global markets are where the real opportunities lie.

Similarly we all need to make that leap of faith and recognize that, while Facebook and twitter are of course still major forces in social media promotion, they are not the only shows in town, and we ignore the rest at our peril.

Here’s the thing: Readers don’t give a flying fig how much time we authors have got to do our promo, or which social media platforms we prefer.

Readers use the social media platforms they prefer.

And if we are somewhere else then our author brand and our titles are not going to be on their radar.

Lost connections. Lost sales. Lost future loyal fans who might go on to buy our backlist and everything we publish in the future.

Tumblr may or may not be for you. But don’t dismiss it without taking a closer look.

And then there’s Instagram.

Instagram? That’s all about selfies, isn’ t?

Of course it is. In the same way as twitter is all about telling people what you had for breakfast, and Facebook is just for posting pictures of fluffy kittens.

Meanwhile savvy indies are enjoying significant revenue boosts by exploring the full potential of Instagram. Not least because Instagram is now bigger than twitter!

But no need to take my word for it. Check out this recent Bookbub blog post, motivatingly titled “15 authors running fantastic book promotions on Instagram”. (LINK)

I’ve posted many times about how the non-FB/twitter social media is where the promo action is moving, usually to blank stares and a thunderous silence from indies who understandably feel they already have far too much to keep up with.

But real-life doesn’t care for our overworked schedules,. Social media reach, just like the global book and content markets, will continue to grow and branch off in new directions regardless of how much we choose to bury our heads in the sand.

We’ve all heard of Pinterest, but how many of us are on it at all, let alone using it for book promo?

Is it worth the effort? Ponder this.

We all know the biggest social medium for referring people to retailers is Facebook.

But if we’re thinking twitter is the only other player that matters, we are well behind the times. As above, Instagram is now bigger than twitter.

But get this: The second-largest referrer of customers to retailers is… not twitter, but Pinterest.

Pinterest sends over four times more people to retailers than twitter does.

And while Facebook may be the biggie (now… nothing is set in stone in this game) Pinterest-referred-customers spend twice as much as customers who arrive at a retailer via Facebook.

Obviously we’re talking here major retailers who have the financial muscle and brand recognition to fully embrace the potential of Pinterest, but plenty of indie authors are using Pinterest very effectively on a smaller scale too.

Still not convinced? Check out this post on ALLi earlier this year. (LINK)

And for far more detail and how-to info check out this extraordinarily instructive post on Indie Recon. (LINK)

One reason Pinterest is so hot right now is that Pinterest’s demographic is far more affluent and better educated than either Facebook’s or twitter’s.

Leaked documents released a short while ago showed Pinterest is set to expand massively, with a ton of funding, and set to make big money, both for itself and for those who use it to reach consumers.

Pinterest is a global player with 70 million users at last official release of stats. The afore-mentioned leaked documents suggest the real number now is more like 150 million and rising fast.

And while that pales into insignificance besides the Facebook and twitter reach, let’s remind ourselves of those conversion rates again.

Pinterest sends over four times more people to retailers than twitter does. And Pinterest-referred-customers spend twice as much as customers who arrive at a retailer via Facebook.

As a career author, can you afford not to be taking Pinterest seriously? Or Instagram? Or Tumblr? Or…

They key with the so-called “next generation” or “new” social media like Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr, and the messaging apps like Viber and WeChat, etc, etc, is that they reach a whole new audience beyond and often quite separate from our twitter/FB range.

This is especially so overseas where so many people are skipping the desktop experience altogether and going straight from no internet to smartphone apps.

For them Instagram and Weibo, Kik and Kakao-Talk, Viver and WeChat, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram, etc, are just part of the furniture.

They are not new and scary fads to be wafted away. They are where the action is.

And, increasingly, where our prospective readers are.

I’ll be following up this post with an update very shortly on the messaging apps scene, because messaging apps are another social media arena very few indies are taking seriously, and are consequently missing a major opportunity to reach new readers.

No, Instagram, Pinterest, Tsu, WhatsApp, WeChat and a gazillion other social media prospects may not be quite as big as Facebook now or in the near future.

But any and most likely several will prove be the perfect small ponds for us to be big fish in, if we will just step outside our comfort zone and take a closer look at the upstart start-ups chasing Facebook’s crown.

Remember, it was only a few short years ago that MySpace was the titan of social media and, for many a social media maven, the only show in town.

How times change.

As the first half of this decade winds down and the run-up to 2020 and the 5G era of the Internet of Things gets underway, we all need to be thinking seriously about the *next* five years and how radically different they are going to be from the *past* five years.

Embrace the future. Because it’s gonna happen whether we like it or not.

# # #

Post Update:

$10 Pay-As-You-Go Smartphones At Wal-Mart. No Excuse Now For Not Joining The Next Generation Social Media Platforms.

With TNG social media like Instagram and messaging apps like Viber getting hotter and hotter by the day it’s a real PITA that you need a smartphone to participate.

Even though many, like Viber, have desk-top access, you still need a smartphone number to sign up in the first place.

And some people, quite understandably, do not want the expense of a new phone, a monthly payment plan, etc, just to join Instagram or Viber.

For those in America it seems salvation is at hand, with Wal-Mart now offering a smartphone for just ten bucks, and on a Pay As You Go plan, so no crazy monthly payments for a phone you will rarely use.

Perfect to buy, along with a separate sim card and phone number, and use exclusively for social media like Instagram and messaging apps like Viber, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, etc.

Messaging apps are now reaching close to two billion people. A full and updated post on this very shortly.

Don’t get stuck in the past for the sake of ten bucks. Move with the times. Get smart. Or at least a smartphone.

Think about the next five years, not the next five weeks.

# # #

To keep up with all the news about the global ebook scene and ways to keep ahead of the game, check out The International Indie Author Facebook Group.

Click HERE.

India Update. Don't Let The Global New Renaissance Pass You By. Be Part Of It.

DiversifyIn2015

India Update.

India is expected to become the second largest smartphone market in the world in 2017. That’s one helluva lot of people with a device in their hands that could be reading your books.

Number one of course is China, which means India will be shunting the USA into third place.

From VentureBeat,

“…smartphone growth is mirrored by the rise of India’s overall Internet population. As of 2014, India was the third-largest Internet population with 243 million online, behind the U.S. with 279.8 million. But that will change in the coming years because while the U.S. has 86 percent of its population online in some fashion, India only has 19 percent penetration.” (LINK)

And VentureBeat adds,

“As a result, entrepreneurs and investors are increasingly looking at markets like China and India as tantalizing regions for products…”

Indies not focusing on India now and laying the foundations for brand recognition there will be missing out big time down the road.

Here’s the thing: The US market is already close to capacity. Its book market can only grow so much bigger, but the supply of books and ebooks being churned out is growing by the day

In India and China the reading markets are already as big as the USA and they’re barely off the starting grid when it comes to meeting demand.

And the same goes for much of the world. Indonesia, Brazil, Russia… Latin America’s Spanish-speaking market… Scandinavia… Eastern Europe… The Middle East…. Nigeria and South Africa…

There are incredible opportunities out there right now for those thinking about the next five years rather than the next five weeks.

Don’t let the global New Renaissance pass you by. Be part of it.

Ebook Bargains UK

Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.

Far more than just the UK.

And The Second Biggest Bookseller In The World After Amazon Is…

DiversifyIn2015

For those of us who are neglecting the India market as a place to find readers, take heed of this latest report which suggests Flipkart is way up there ahead of the likes of Barnes & Noble, Waterstone’s, Fnac,etc. (LINK)

A few caveats.

First off, the world’s second largest book market China is totally omitted from the survey.

Second, the survey is actually about the popularity of a store rather than how many books are sold. And it is the whole store, not just the book store.

So for Amazon and Flipkart we are actually looking at the overall popularity of the Amazon and Flipkart stores as opposed to just the bookstore element.

No surprise that Amazon came top therefore. As to whether or not Flipkart sells more books than Barnes & Noble, the jury is out. This survey shows Flipkart is more popular, but given the population of India, the scale of the Flipkart enterprise, and the trending unpopularity of Barnes & Noble, that’s no surprise either.

But we should be in no doubt Flipkart shifts a lot of books and is by far the biggest bookseller in India. Nieslen estimated their market share at 80% in 2013.

Ebooks? There is no breakdown of ebook sales per se for Amazon India and Flipkart, and ebook take-up is India is still in its infancy, so we are not talking massive numbers. But that will soon change as more publishers in India engage with digital, and Flipkart and Amazon will no doubt fight it out for top place as the country’s leading ebook provider.

Both stores are massive in India, although Flipkart by far the largest, but it has to be noted that since Jeff Bezos started taking India seriously last year Amazon has really begun to close the gap on Flipkart’s dominance. Stats for May indicate Amazon actually had more unique visitors than Flipkart, for the first time.

Of course unique visitors and regular paying customers are two different things, but it’s clear that, after a couple of years of seemingly going nowhere, Amazon has really got its act together in India, and is now a major player.

How much that will be reflected in book and ebook market share remains to be seen.

But one thing is clear. Indians love to read, and the Indian reading market, already massive, is growing by the day as more and more of the population engage with the e-commerce world thanks to the proliferation of smartphones and tablets and improvements in internet availability across the subcontinent.

The English-speaking book market in India is impressive. The local-language book market likely to be even more so.

Anyone not thinking about translations into the myriad Indian languages is going to miss out big time in the coming years.

So will those who do not engage fully with the myriad retailers operating in India.

Apple and Nook aren’t there, but Amazon and Flipkart are up against Google Play and Kobo, as well as local players ranging from the small (but very useful for local POD) Pothi to the two big mobile-only vendors Newshunt and Rockstand. There are others. Infibeam perhaps the most interesting as it prepares for its IPO (LINK) , and with a fresh influx of cash it may get back on track with its own ebook store.

India is one of the most exciting prospects on the planet right now for indie authors, and with Bookbub now sending out a newsletter with buy buttons for some of the key Indian stores, including Amazon and Flipkart (but sadly not Newshunt or Rockstand), we can expect to see a handful of western indies do very well here over the next twelve months.

If you fancy your chances check out the Bookbub blog which has a post on how best to discount ebooks in India. (LINK)

Don’t just be a witness to the global New Renaissance. Be part of it.

Ebook Bargains UK

Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.

Far more than just the UK.