Category Archives: Indonesia ebooks

Google Loon Coming to India, Spotlight Falls on Poland, and more.

Loon

 

Google Loon For India.

It’s early days yet, but it looks likely India will join Sri Lanka and Indonesia in being among the first countries to have nationwide internet access courtesy of Google Loon.

Loon is a balloon project whereby unmanned balloons fly at high altitude reflecting and beaming down internet signals to places that would otherwise be uneconomical to reach.

Google is currently partnering with telcos on the ground (literally in this case) to move to the next stage.

Long term everyone benefits from these social infrastructure ventures being undertaken by companies like Google and Facebook (think Aquila drones), that will make the internet even more accessible.

Loon and Aquila are of course driven by mobile. Global mobile. Globile.

And with each new advance the potential audience for content suppliers grows ever bigger.

This post was previously published in the International Indie Author Facebook Group on 08 March 2016.  (LINK

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Spotlight On Poland 2016-17.

Poland will be in this spotlight this year and next, with several major book fairs showcasing the Polish book market.

Publishing Perspectives covers this in a post by Porter Anderson, where I noted in comments,

“Poland is a particularly interesting market for ebooks because Amazon has no Kindle store there and is therefore busily surcharging Polish readers for Kindle books unless they have pre-existing accounts from a Kindle country.

A lot of Poles have bought Kindles and have accounts set up whilst in Germany or UK, etc, which enables them to buy from the UK or Germany Kindle store without whispernet surcharges, but of course there is very little Polish content being made available in the Kindle store in the first place.

Many domestic Polish ebook publishers have taken full advantage of this by supplying ebooks in mobi format as well as epub.”

We indies tend to assume it has been the USA that has made all the running in the ebook sector, and of course by market size that’s true, but Poland was fielding ebook subscription services long before Scribd, Oyster and Amazon got in on the act.

Check out Legimi (one of the first Polish subscription services, way back in 2013) for one of many Polish outlets where we can sell our Polish translations, should we ever have them available.

Of course we all know that’s a waste of time because we all know central and east Europeans wouldn’t want to read our stories set in America and Britain.

That’s why there’s no sign in the Legimi store of Lee Child or Karin Slaughter or EL James or Andy Weir or… No, hold on. They are all there.

It’s just as indies that can’t be bothered.

Our loss.

Admittedly none of my titles are in Legimi right now either, but that’s just a matter of time. My first Polish translations will be going live in the next few months.

How about you?

This post was previously published in the International Indie Author Facebook Group on 07 March 2016. (LINK

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Augmented Reality Books Are Coming. No, Not Ebooks. Print Books!

Yep, Google has just patented the tech to create digitally-enhanced print books. You couldn’t make it up.

“The technology outfits a physical book with numerous page sensors, touch sensors, and motion sensors to understand the reader’s movements. Based on those movements and the storyline of the book, the system adds augmented reality elements over the pages.”

My guess this will in turn embrace hologram tech and provide, in time, a 3D augmented reality experience.

For children’s books, fantasy and sci-fi and for non-fic like how to and cookery this could be major step forward and show once more that print is far from dead and can be reinvented just like the story-telling process.

This a post was previously published in the International Indie Author Facebook Group on 05 March 2016.  (LINK

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Facebook Messenger Integrates With Spotify.

We can ignore them all we like, but messaging apps aren’t going to go away.

Facebook Messenger has now integrated with Spotify in an attempt to attract its NEXT billion monthly active users.

Yes, Facebook Messenger already has a billion monthly active users we could be connecting with to promote our books.

WhatsApp has 800 million, WeChat 600 million, Telegram 100 million and growing fast.

There are lots more.

As with Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc, a handful of savvy indies are shifting million of books (search the Group for posts on this) while the majority of us carry on partying like it’s 2010 and dismiss any suggestion that The Next Generation social media platforms might be worth a second look.

Our loss.

This a post was previously published in the International Indie Author Facebook Group on 04 March 2016.  (LINK

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The International Indie Author

Looking at the bigger picture.

Half The World Now Own An Ebook-Friendly Smartphone. Still Think Going Global Is A Crazy Idea?

Global Digital NOV 2015

Latest stats show the world’s total population at 7.3 billion. And over half of them – 51% – own smartphones that could be carrying our ebooks.

A quarter billion people have started using the internet for the first time just in 2015. 300 million people around the world have used social media for the first time this year. In almost every case that has been driven by globile – that is, global mobile.

And the growth rates are accelerating, not slowing.

The scale of our potential global readership is simply staggering, and growing literally by the day.

Obviously its not quite that black and white – not all smartphone users are actually connected to the internet, fewer still will be readers, and fewer still of those will actually be able to access our ebooks even if we have the best possible distribution.

But when we start talking numbers on this scale even tiny percentages can be massive in real terms.

As I’ve said many times, the global ebook marlets will collectively dwarf the US market over the next few years.

A full global overview will be available in early 2016. Meantime there’s a very instructive regional overview of SE Asia just released.

TechInAsia has a great post (LINK) on the digital transition in SE Asia (that’s roughly Asia to the east of India and south of China – essentially Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, etc.

With over 600 million people – almost twice the size of the US population – SE Asia should be on every author’s radar as a place to reach readers.

And rather helpfully 250 million of them are active internet users and 230 ae active on social media.

Check out the TechInAsia post for a comprehensive breakdown.

Here to look closer at the social media element, where there are a few surprises in store for those of us who still think Facebook and twitter are the only shows in town.

Needless to say Facebook is still the biggest player.

But in second, third and fourth place are not social media networks at all but those annoying messaging apps we indies do our best to ignore.

WhatsApp at #2, followed by QQ, then Facebook Messenger.

Twitter next? No, not yet.

Next comes the social media network QZone, followed by another messaging app, WeChat.

Followed by Instagram, and only after Ingram comes twitter.

To be fair, twitter has a respectable 316 million users in the region, but Instagram has 400 million.

And racing up behind are, amongst the regional names we may never have heard of, more familiar players.

249 million Viber users.
230 million Tumblr users.
211 LINE users.
200 million Snapchat users.
100 million Pinterest users.

Drilling down regionally for targetted marketing by country will help you focus on which network or messaging app is best by country.

Facebook is massive in Indonesia, for example, but in Thailand LINE is almost as big as Facebook.

In the Philppines Viber is especially strong.

I’ll be dissecting the data country by country in future posts, and needless to say I’m counting the days until the full global report is released.

Safe to assume the same pattern we are seeing here in SE Asia is being replicated across much of the planet.

Globile is changing the world, literally, and part of that change is a fast-growing global publishing market quite beyond anything we could have envisaged back in 2009-1010. A huge, globile market in which indie authors and big publishers alike can play a role.

When I first began talking about a global ebook market driven by smartphones, back in 2011, it all seemed too good to be true.

Fast forward five years and the Global New Renaissance is real, It’s happening. Right now.

Books and ebooks are a central part of it.

Are you?

Don’t let the incredible opportunities unfolding pass you by because a fixation on the US market is easier and more convenient.

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

Indonesia – why you should be there and how StreetLib and PublishDrive can get you a foothold.

Indonesia is a nation spread over an archipelago of more than ten thousand islands.  Yet somehow Indonesian publishers manage to sell books, are doing rather well now and expected to do very well in the near future.

Indonesia is one of the seven key countries featured at the Frankfurt Book Fair global markets focus this year, as well as being the Fair’s Guest of Honour.

Regulars will know I’ve been waxing lyrical about the prospects in Indonesia for a year or two now. Like India and China and a handful of other countries ,Indonesia has been a priority focus for me.

Why?

Because besides having the fourth largest population in the world, Indonesia is very engaged with the digital world. And the very factor that has hampered traditional publishing in Indonesia – being an archipelago of well over 10,000- islands – means Indonesia is the ideal place to sell ebooks.

So long as there is an internet connection available.

Oh, and a retailer.

The good news is, Indonesia is a hotbed of cyber-activity, and with a young population (over 80% of Indonesians are under 30) internet interaction is big. Seriously big.

The Indonesian capital Jakarta is twitter’s busiest city anywhere in the world. Indonesia is a major Facebook country (and helpfully 20% of Indonesian Facebook interaction is in English) and sees major activity with other social media, especially messaging apps.

As smartphone penetration increases so will Indonesia’s prospects as a market for digital products such as ebooks.

The bad news is, Amazon blocks downloads to Indonesia and there’s no iBooks Indonesia store (although Apple is huge in Indonesia, so it will come).

  • The good news is Google Play and Kobo are there.
  • So is eSentral. (LINK)
  • And so is Bookmate. (LINK)

In August of this year Bookmate signed a deal with IndoSat to launch the Bookmate Cipika-Books brand, (LINK)

Bookmate currently has some 2.5 million users around the world.

eSentral will get you into a number of SE Asian countries otherwise difficult to access, but let’s stick with Indonesia.

No, neither Smashwords nor Draft2Digital will get you into Bookmate. Nor Google Play. Nor eSentral.

But StreetLib (LINK)  – will get you into both Google Play and Bookmate.

PublishDirect (LINK)   – will get you into Google Play and eSentral.

For the record, pay-up-front aggregators like Bookbaby, eBook Partnership and Vearsa also get you into these stores, but the focus here is on pay-as-you-sell sell options.

Then there are the regional operators (including eSentral, which is based in Malaysia).  Another key regional player is Thailand-based Ookbee.

Indonesia-based Scoop (LINK)  is a regional player and leads the way in expanding its service out of Indonesia.

Currently no western aggregators are dealing with Ookbee or Scoop.

StreetLib, PublishDirect, et al, if you’re reading this, please take a look at Scoop and Ookbee!

Then there are the domestic Indonesian players. Not just Scoop but NulisBuku, WayangForce (LINK), IndoBooks (LINK), Qbaca (LINK), etc.

NulisBuku was one of the pioneer self-publishing platforms in Indonesia and has a great website. (LINK)

For western indies it’s important to appreciate that, while it seems as if the West is leading the way and the rest of the world has to wait until Amazon’s KDP or Smashwords or another easy-load option arrives, the reality is self-publishing is taking off all over the world without them.

Those of us who sit back and wait until  Smashwords or D2D finally realise there is a global New Renaissance unfolding are going to find ourselves entering an overcrowded market if and when we finally do take the plunge.

NulisBuku may have been the first, but bigger players are now in the Indonesian self-publishing game. Gramediana, for example, which is part of the huge Indonesia media outfit Kompas Gramedia

And you’ll be delighted to know that Gramediana have an English-language site. (LINK)

Indonesia, like China and India, is not going to make any western indies superstars overnight, but for any indie author looking to be a truly international bestselling author these three countries should be not just on your radar, but on your Invest Time & Energy In Now list.

Sow the seeds now for future harvests.

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

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

The View From The Beach – Mark Williams At Large

Gunjur-Coastline-Gambia

We tend to focus on in-depth posts and analysis on the global publishing scene for the EBUK blog, and as the entire EBUK project is a not-for-profit operation run by volunteers it often means smaller, but no less important, items of interest get passed by.

So we asked frequent EBUK blog contributor Mark Williams to run a regular column here sharing with us pertinent shorter news stories, as ever throwing in his unique perspective as an international bestselling author and surveyor of the international publishing markets from the far shores of West Africa.

And yes, that is his local beach. As he likes to remind us, he lives the writers’ dream, hammering away at a keyboard on picture-postcard white sandy beaches lined with picture-postcard green gently swaying palm trees next to a picture-postcard warm blue ocean beneath picture-postcard blue skies.  Hey, nobody said life was fair!

The View From The Beach – Mark Williams At Large.

May Is Short Story Month. Are You Ready?

It’s actually the third Short Story Month – it started in 2013 – and momentum is gathering as more and more people look for “bite-size” reading. (LINK)

Millennials have been particularly identified with the demand for this type of material, in part reflecting the rise of smartphone reading and lifestyles where working hours are far more flexible than in days of yore.

Vintage/Anchor Books are releasing a short story every day during May to mark Short Story Month, all priced at 0.99, and I think they are on to a winner.

I also think, because I’m going down this route myself, that short non-fiction, and especially short narrative non-fiction is also the new black.

Amazon’s Kindle Singles and B&N’s Nook Snaps have already proven the demand for short digital material, and Vintage/Anchor see a lot of potential to engage readers with shorter offerings.

We were all surprised to find Millennials, the generation most comfortable with smartphones, preferred reading paperbacks to reading ebooks, but my feeling is its all to do with length. Reading a 100,000 word novel on a smartphone (as opposed to an e-ink ereader) is probably not the most pleasant of reading experiences, but for consuming a shorter work in a short space of time a smartphone may well be the ideal vehicle.

As indies we have in some way painted ourselves into a corner with our 0.99 full length novels flooding a handful of key markets, but we need to step back and view the markets from the perspective of readers, not writers. Something we collectively seem not very good at, as the huge number of exclusive-with-one-retailer indie titles shows. What better way of telling readers that what we care about is us, not them…

As the global New Renaissance gets into second gear we should all divest ourselves of any straight-jacket notions about what will sell and where, and what will be commercially viable, and likewise we should all divest ourselves of any straight-jacket notions about marketing and promotion.

Kobo Parent Company Rakuten Enters The Magazine Publishing Market. Expect Amazon To Follow Suit Soon.

I’m surprised Amazon hasn’t gone down this route yet, but with Rakuten leading the way it’s now pretty much inevitable they will do so.

Rakuten’s first venture is a fashion magazine in Japan, and rather cleverly all the fashions featured are also for sale on Rakuten’s Ichiba retail site. (LINK)

Purely speculative but I would imagine India would be the ideal place for Amazon to follow suit. Amazon’s fashion arm has been making big strides in India, and an e-magazine devoted to exposure for fashion items available on the Amazon IN store would boost Amazon’s challenge to the 600lb gorilla in the Indian e-commerce marketplace, Flipkart, which happens to own India’s 600lb gorilla e-fashion site Myntra.

If I were a betting man I’d put money on both Flipkart and Amazon launching e-magazines this year. And if I were adviser to Jeff Bezos I’d be asking why Amazon doesn’t have both an e-zine and a print zine of its own in the USA.

Career Authors Alert: Selling Rights Vs Selling Ebooks.

Here’s a White Paper that’s free to download from Publishing Perspectives. Its theme: Global Rights and Licencing.

This is only 20 pages, but well worth the time if you are serious about being an international bestselling author.

Don’t be misled by the title. A lot of indies think in terms of selling ebooks. Even thinking about selling print books is a stretch. So selling “rights” might not be something you think indies need to be bothered with.

If so, think again.

Selling “Rights” should be at the heart of your career strategy so you can let someone else worry about the donkey work of selling your work beyond your comfort zone, while you actually spend your time writing the next book.

But it’s not just about selling the book. It’s about selling the translation rights, the film rights, the TV rights, the boardwalk rights, the game rights, the…

So long as we indies are locked into the microverse of ebooks we are never going to be able to compete with the big boys.

The White Paper is mainly about global book (print and digital) rights, but also includes a very useful section on film rights – something ALL of us should be thinking about.

It also includes a “starter” for the global markets by focusing on two countries regular readers of EBUK or my posts elsewhere will know are high on my list as places to be focused on: Brazil and Indonesia.

I know few of you are convinced about Indonesia, but ponder this little gem from the report:

Of the 32,000 titles published in Indonesia in 2014, 50% were translations of foreign languages, with English the front runner.

Other snippets from the post reiterating what I’ve been saying:

“Germany is the trans-Atlantic powerhouse.”

“Japan is the fourth largest publishing market.”

“The Spanish language markets offer global opportunities.”

“Turkey is taking off.”

“Poland and the Czech Republic are showing strong signs so life.”

The global New Renaissance is a fact. It’s happening all around you as you read this. And you can be part of it. Front seat tickets are on sale right now.

Or you can be a bystander and wave as it passes you by.

Hopefully this link to the GoogleDocs download form will work for you. (LINK)

If not, pop along to the Publishing Perspectives website. (LINK)

Asia Watch 1.

 Tencent, the Chinese e-titan, has just seen its value exceed two hundred billion dollars, leaving the likes of Amazon in its wake. (LINK)

Yet another clear sign, as I’ve been warning this past few years, that the centre of digital gravity is shifting east, and we should all be focused on getting a foothold on these oriental players now, before the rest of the west wakes up and starts a stampede to climb on board.

Tencent, Alibaba, Xiaomi, JD and a host of unpronounceables I’ve been tagging these past years are now coming of age and with that come opportunities unparalleled in the west as the global New Renaissance shifts into second gear.

The upstart start-up Xiaomi has just upped its ebook game with a deal with Trajectory, Macmillan and Gardners to get western English-language ebooks into the Xiaomi store. See more on this below.

A week or so ago Tencent became for all practical purposes the biggest ebook store on the planet (except by revenue, because ebooks in China are so much cheaper) as it reinvented itself (more on this in an in-depth look at China shortly).

JD has long been one of the biggest ebook stores in China, and last year signed a deal with one of the Big 5 western players to get English-language ebooks into China, where demand for E-L literature is high.

In doing so they followed the lead of OverDrive, now ironically owned by another eastern giant, Rakuten.

Alibaba doesn’t sell ebooks yet but you can sell your print via Alibaba through its US store 11Main. Expect Alibaba ebooks soon.

As the only western indie author to have a title hit the number one spot on Amazon’s Kindle China store I’m probably better qualified than most to say savvy indies should all be making sure China is not just on their radar but on your URGENT ACTION NEEDED list.

And make sure India and Indonesia are there too, because these are among the next eastern hot-spots for indie authors willing to step outside their comfort zone.

UK and Australia Digital Libraries Now Supplied By 3M.

 The 3M Cloud ebook service is now available in the UK and Australia, having shifted north to Canada last year. (LINK)

We’ve covered 3M on the EBUK blog before and will run an update on the global library markets soon.

Here just to remind you that, erotica authors aside, you can get your ebooks into the OverDrive catalogue via Smashwords.

The pay-up-front aggregator Ebook Partnership will get you into the OverDrive global libraries (over forty countries) and also into the OverDrive retail outlets which Smashwords does not deliver to.

Or you may prefer to pop along and try Ebooks Are Forever, a new initiative by Joe Konrath to get indie titles into US libraries. (LINK)

Magzter Now Open To Indie Authors.

 The global digital magazine retailer Magzter also sells ebooks, and following a reference in a post here on EBUK recently they kindly reminded me that indie authors can now upload direct to Magzter.

Go to Magzter (LINK) and set up a publisher account and then upload your titles. They need to update the site as it seems to suggest you can only publish magazines still, but if you go through to the next stage you’ll find a portal specifically for ebooks.

I get my books into Magzter through a third party so can’t say what the experience is like, but I can say Magzter is a fast-growing global player (over 200 countries).

As most magazines are non-fiction I’m expecting non-fiction ebooks to do particularly well on Magzter, and all the more so if the subject matter ties in with the theme of the more popular magazines.

At the moment the Magzter ebook store is sparely populated and this is a great opportunity to be a big fish in a small pond if you play your cards right. My guess is many people will discover e-zines before they discover ebooks, and most of those will discover ebooks on the same site they buy their e-magazines from.

Watch out for a detailed post on Magzter soon.

 Asia Watch 2.

Xiaomi Steps Up Its E-Book Game! Are You Ready?

  Xiaomi, the upstart start-up from China, has in just five years has gone from nowhere to be one of the biggest smartphone players on the planet.

This month it has been announced Xiaomi has a deal to take western ebooks into its China store, with strong indications the ebook stores will be extended to other countries in the near future.

Nate at Ink, Bits & Pixels has the scoop. (LINK)

Trajectory recently fixed a deal with Tencent to get English-language titles into the Chinese market, and what is gobsmackingly wonderful about this new deal is that it also involves Britain’s wholesale distributor Gardners, which means there is a back door in for indies.

Needless to say l’m already in Gardners, so looking forward to seeing my English-language titles in Xiaomi alongside my Chinese translated titles which have been doing rather well in the China markets.

Yes, before you ask, there is serious demand for western E-L titles in China. Last year OverDrive did a big deal to get western content into China and in September we reported here on the EBUK blog on HarperCollins signing a deal to get its E-L catalogue into China. (LINK)

Now Macmillan has followed suit.

We’ve said on previous occasions that Xiaomi isn’t yet taking on western titles but that it will, and when it does, to jump in with both feet.

It’s happening.

And it won’t stop at just China.

Earlier this month Xiaomi sold 2.12 million smartphones in twelve hours when it did a special sales event across its outlet countries, which include key nations like Thailand and Indonesia, India, Brazil and Turkey.

If you’re serious about becoming an international bestselling author then you need to be serious about players like Xiaomi. Because Xiaomi is serious about ebooks.

Subscription Services Get Bigger & Better. Mostly.

Digital music has been around a lot longer than ebooks, in a meaningful commercial sense, but only in 2014 did digital revenue finally exceed “physical” revenue for music.

And much of that was driven by subscription. (LINK)

Meantime Netflix had a stunning Q1 picking up 5 million new subscribers (LINK) while continuing to make profit.

The naysayers love to say ebook subscription services are unsustainable, and then point to music as an example of why, but music is doing just fine and film and video subscription – far closer to ebook subscriptions than music – goes  from strength to strength.

A given ebook subscription service may come or go, but as a commercial entity the subscription model is working just fine for all digital products. For content providers? Spotify not so much for musicians, and Kindle Unlimited not so much for authors. But early days.

New subscription services are emerging by the day. The Danish subscription service Mofibo will be launching in the UK this year.

And be sure to watch out for the new kid on the block, Playster, due to go live this summer. Playster plans to offer an across the board digital subscription service with music, video, ebooks, audio, etc, all for a fixed fee.

Simon & Schuster have just signed up for Playster. (LINK)

And in separate news Penguin Random House, while still eschewing subscription for ebooks, has put its audio books into Scribd.

Back in February HarperCollins put its titles into the Russia-based subscription service Bookmate. Expect Macmillan and Simon & Schuster to follow suit soon.

Although CIS based, Bookmate is far bigger than just Russia, and is focused on targeting places Amazon blocks downloads to. But with an Amazon Russia Kindle store rumoured to be around the corner the competition between Bookmate and Amazon might be about to be heat up.

I’ve been in Bookmate a while, and can’t say as I’ve seen much action, but I have great hopes for Bookmate in the future. Bookmate is fielding a quarter million English-language titles, only a handful of which are indie. Plenty of opportunity for savvy indies to get traction in the nascent markets Bookmate serves.

Be part of the subscription ebook scene or miss out, because the readers are heading that way in their droves.

 Book Tango / Book Country – What Worries Me Is Books On Board.

 The rebranded Book Tango (LINK) has long been on my watch list, but what worries me still is the links and references to Books On Board, which went under two years ago this month. (LINK) Surely two years is time enough to get the website updated?

One good reason for looking at Book Tango was that it distributed to Google, which the main pay-as-you-sell American aggregators like Smashwords and Draft2Digital do not. But with both Xin-Xii and Narcissus able to get your ebooks into Google Play I still can see no reason to risk playing with Book Tango. But I’d love to hear from anyone who has and has some experiences to share.

+ + +

I’ll wrap this session up with something from trad pub at the London Book Fair. Yeah, thought you’d be impressed. But love it or hate it, trad pub is here to stay and doing rather well. And we can learn a thing or two from it.

At the London Book Fair Faber & Faber CEO Stephen Page talks about how a “new ecology” has emerged in the publishing industry.

Quote: “The previous ecology got hammered and challenged. A new one has emerged that is partly around the resilience and return of physical books, partly around the new confidence there is.  There is a new confidence about the options open to publishers, about the creation of value, about investing in content with confidence. There is a shift towards the consumer, which is still continuing and isn’t finished yet, and just a new confidence about the tools and opportunities open to us.” (LINK)

For those indie fundamentalists who live and breathe the “self-pub good, trad pub bad” mantra it’s bad news. Far from rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic (try finding an indie blog between 2010-2013 that didn’t say that), trad pub has sealed the hole, pumped out the water and fired up the engines again.

For authors who prefer to live outside the tribal lines it’s another sign of a wonderful future ahead for all of us who are willing to embrace the New Renaissance rather than chase archaic print dreams in digital formats.

The opportunities are just beginning to emerge, and many indies will miss most of them because many of us are still thinking books and readers. That is soooo 2009.

Look at the words Stephen Page uses. “Content” and “consumers”, “tools and opportunities”.

Yes, we can dismiss these as meaningless biz-speak, but alternatively we might want to consider that trad pub, having adamantly refused to keel over and die as the indie movement gleefully hoped back in 2009-12, might just be on to something.

For industry-watchers there is not just a new confidence but a new vibrancy in the publishing industry as 2015 gets under way. So very different from the uncertainty and near-despair that epitomised 2010-12.

Indies would do well to watch trad pub very closely, because trad pub is very clearly thinking about the next five years, not the next five weeks.

Individual publishers and bookstores may come and go, but as an industry trad pub and trad pub retail will be stronger than ever in 2020 as it embraces the tools and opportunities of the global New Renaissance.

Where will you be at in 2020? Riding high with them? Or still trying the same tactics that worked so well in 2010 and wondering what’s gone wrong?

Ebook Bargains UK

Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.

Far more than just the UK.

Google Play Launches Another Four New Ebook Stores. Amazon Still Thinking About One.

Go Global In 2014

While rumours abound that Amazon has a Kindle Netherlands store on the way, Google Play is busy doing what it does best: adding more international ebook stores to its already impressive global list.

Or at least it is about to. The Digital Reader reports (LINK) that Google Play has added the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania to its list, along with the Ukraine.

The stores aren’t fully live yet, but when they are it will take Google Play’s total country-dedicated international ebook stores to 61 – substantially ahead of Apple’s 51, the twenty or so ‘txtr sites (Latin America additions still pending) and Amazon’s dozen Kindle stores.

Comparing the Apple and Google Play lists is instructive.

Apple iBooks stores:

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia,
Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica,
Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic,
Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France,
Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary,
Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg,
Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua,
Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland,
Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain,
Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom,
United States, Venezuela.

Google Play Books ebook stores:

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia,
Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica,
Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador,
Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala,
Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia,
Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia,
Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama,
Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal,
Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea,
Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand,
Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States,
Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam.

While Apple has a very solid presence in Asia, and its devices sell in the millions there, Asia is for some reason all but devoid of iBooks store. Across the whole of the continent, Apple has just one solitary iBooks store, in Japan.

By contrast Google Play serves Hong Kong, India, Indonesia,
Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea,
Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

Amazon obviously has Kindle stores serving India and Japan, and a token presence in China. but for the rest of Asia Amazon may as well not exist, as downloads are blocked there.

The only other easy access to Asian ebook stores for western indie authors are Kobo (but only for the Philippines and Japan), e-Sentral (direct upload, or via Bookbaby or Ebook Partnership) or Magzter (via Ebook Partnership).

Which makes Google Play the essential place to be for any indie authors wanting to reach readers on the world’s largest and most populated continent.

The much-rumoured Kindle Netherlands and Kindle Russia stores may, hopefully, yet materialize. Apple, Google Play, Kobo and ‘txtr have all long ago managed to come to an arrangement with Dutch publishers, and Google Play is already in Russia.

But as we’ve expressed before, Amazon’s Kindle stores run on print rails. And they do themselves little favour by imposing surcharges on ebook buyers in countries prior to opening Kindle stores.

The Netherlands already has a well-established domestic ebook store in Bol, and the recent partnership of Bol and Kobo will only strengthen Bol’s clear dominance of the burgeoning Dutch ebook market.

A market Amazon could have been nurturing by the simple expedient of letting international buyers download ebooks without surcharges.

Why doesn’t it? Ours is not to reason why.

But on the other hand, why not. Here’s one possible reason.

Trad-pubbed ebooks come to Amazon with strict territorial rights, reflecting the print editions.

As said above, Amazon Kindle stores run on print rails. The Kindle stores are driven by trad-pub interests, not indie ebooks.

Indie authors, as we see time and time again (how many years has it taken for us indies to get the pre-order option?), are an afterthought. Even when indie titles provide the bulk of a service, as with Kindle Unlimited, it’s the trad pubbed titles (and the Amazon imprint titles) that are showcased. The rest of us are just padding.

With its brand-recognition and international reach Amazon could have been bringing many indie authors a significant secondary income from international ebook sales outside the Kindle zone countries. Instead it surcharges readers, so most go elsewhere.

Your $4.99 ebook in the USA will cost a reader in the Netherlands or Poland or Sweden $6.99. Amazon will pay you just a 35% royalty on the $4.99 and pocket the rest. Your free ebook in the US will still cost a reader in these other countries $2. And no, you won’t see a cent of that either.

Curiously, as we’ve seen with Kindle France, Kindle Germany, Kindle Brazil, etc, as soon as Amazon gets a good deal with trad pub and has enough titles to open a Kindle store the surcharges miraculously disappear.

All the while it was just indie titles available in these countries Amazon was happy to deter interest, in the full knowledge readers will be signing up with rival stores.

So long as this policy remains in force Amazon will continue to be a bit player on the international ebook scene outside of the handful of Kindle countries.

The others?

‘Txtr is a plucky little store with ambition and stamina, but little hope of making a significant impact. Nice to be part of, but it won’t make any authors rich.

Kobo is broad in reach and lots of potential, but as yet Rakuten have not put their muscle behind it. When they do that will make all the difference

Until then, pending entrance of the eastern players like Alibaba, and the possible purchase of Nook next year, the global ebook market will be either carved up between Apple and Google, or left to Google. At the moment it looks like the latter.

No indications Apple is looking seriously at further global iBook stores. Which is tragic because there are literally hundreds of millions of iDevices out there globally that could have our ebooks on.

On the bright side iBooks stores are now coming as default installations on iDevices, which may be a precursor to a more serious approach to ebooks by Apple. Fingers crossed on that one.

But for now, even if Amazon pulls it off and launches Kindle Netherlands and Kindle Russia stores, Google Play remains the best bet for an international writing career.

http://the-digital-reader.com/2014/09/24/google-play-books-launches-estonia-latvia-lithuania-ukraine/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheDigitalReader+%28The+Digital+Reader%29#.VCPFWpRdUsc

 

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the BBC Is Now On Line. No, Not On-Line. On LINE!

Go Global In 2014

The BBC Is Now On Line.

No, not on-line. On LINE.

As in, Line, the Japanese messenger service we mentioned here a few days ago (LINK) as an ideal way to promote your ebooks in foreign lands.

In the past week the BBC has begun using Line to promote news in countries including India, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

In just said past week the BBC has already picked up over 80,000 followers. And yes, the BBC is messaging to all these countries is in English.

The BBC has also been using the hugely popular social media services WeChat and WhatsApp in India for nearly six months.

The BBC thinks these messaging and social media services are a great way to reach people overseas. So do we.

And for reasons explained in the previous post (linked above), your existing Facebook and twitter accounts are not best suited to finding readers in foreign lands.

The global ebook market is already bigger than most people imagine, and is growing by the day.  But we indies need to be willing to step outside our comfort zones if we want to be part of it.

Just like with selling ebooks back home, being there is unquestionably half the battle.

Letting readers know you are there is a big part of the other half.

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Almost Two Billion. That’s How Many People On The Planet Could Be Reading Your Ebooks.

Go Global In 2014

As we love to remind you here at EBUK, every single smartphone and tablet around the world is a potential recipient for your ebooks, and the number of people who have them is getting bigger and bigger by the day.

Currently almost TWO BILLION people on the planet have smartphones.

And that number is about to get even bigger as Google launches its Android One programme – with a mission to bring affordable smartphones to the FIVE BILLION people on the planet currently without a device.

Over the next couple of years the potential readership of your ebooks is going to grow exponentially as Android One partners – including some of the biggest device manufacturers on the planet, such as Lenova, HTX, Acer and Asus – to bring affordable smartphones to the developing world.

As we often say here, we regard India and SE Asia – and in particular China, Indonesia and the Philippines – as key growth areas for ebooks we should all be targeting. And as we reported here (LINK) the demand for English-language books in these countries is clear.

It’s no coincidence that Google’s Android One launched this week in India, and next on the list is Indonesia and the Philippines, with Pakistan and Bangladesh to follow, as well as Sri Lanka and tiny Nepal. And an Android One roll-out globally in 2015.

But hold on. Did we say “tiny” Nepal? This wonderful country may indeed be a tiny smudge on the world map, but with a population of 28 million it has more people than Australia, and almost as many as Canada!

Sri Lanka? Just behind Australia, but still five times more people than New Zealand!

The Philippines? The Philippines has more English speakers than the UK has people!

So has Pakistan, where English is the official language. Total population in Pakistan is 180 million.

Bangladesh comes in just behind Pakistan with 160 million people. English is not so widely spoken here but still very widespread.

Indonesia has 250 million people. Twenty per cent of Facebook users in Indonesia conduct their business in English, suggesting the English-language is very widely used in this beautiful country.

Smartphone penetration is still low is many of these countries. But even so, the numbers are surprising. Take this snapshot of SE Asia:

33m people in Vietnam are already using smartphones (LINK). 32 million in Thailand. 15m in the Philippines. 23 million in Malaysia. In Indonesia only 23% of the population currently use smartphones, but that’s almost 60 million people – close to the entire population of the UK!

Apple is big – very big – in Vietnam and Indonesia, but until they open iBooks stores in these countries it’s not relevant to us as indie authors. Fortunately for us the big growth in smartphones across the region is Android-driven, and that means Google.

Obviously global Google’s mission isn’t primarily about ebooks, but as Google have already shown with their rapid expansion of the Google Play Books store to 57 countries, ebooks are a key part of the equation. Google Play already has ebook stores in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. Expect Google Play ebook stores for Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal in the not too distant future.

As Google said on their blog this week (LINK)

“Knowledge is a game changer. I’ve long been inspired by the Internet and how it opens the doors to opportunity. It provides access to knowledge, no matter who you are or where you are. For instance, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Nobel Laureate at a world-class research center or a young student at a rural school in Indonesia, with Google Search, you have the same information at your fingertips as anyone else.”

Of course, the difference between the Nobel Laureate in the world class research centre and the student in a rural school in Indonesia is that the former will be able to buy your ebooks very easily from a western retailer. But apart from Google Play there are no western retailers who will even give Indonesian readers the time of day.

Amazon completely blocks downloads to most of SE Asia. Even Apple, which is hugely popular in the region, has yet to make its iBooks store available in Asia apart from Japan.

Tim Cook, wake up and smell the coffee! Apple and Google are the only two companies currently capable of creating truly global ebook retail franchise, but Tim, you seem happy to hand the opportunity over to Google. Take the iBooks store seriously!

Pending Apple getting their act together, there are other options for indie authors to reach the SE Asia market. Malaysian-based E-Sentral, for instance, which serves not just Malaysia but also Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and tiny Brunei. And there are many “local” retailers like Ookbee and Scoop, though getting into these is not easy at this stage.

For the record, you can go to E-Sentral direct, or use Bookbaby or Ebook Partnership.

But for most of us Google Play remains by far our best bet for reaching readers not just in SE Asia but also across the vast regions of the world that Amazon either blocks, surcharges or makes payments difficult.

Payments are one of the key sticking points for global expansion, and Google understands this. Expanding their range of payment options to suit local needs (glocalization) is a top priority for Google (LINK), who already offer a diverse range of payment options quite aside from credit cards, which most of the world’s population do not have. Carrier billing, Paypal, gift cards and other options and local payment processing such as over-the-counter payments are all on the Google agenda.

And these will all help potential readers buy our ebooks. If they are available.

At risk of sparking another bout of “anti-Amazon” cries, it needs repeating here, because so many indie authors think that when you tick world rights box in the KDP dashboard, that huge list of countries means that your ebooks will be available in all these places. It doesn’t.

The simple fact is if you are exclusive with Amazon you are not going to reach digital readers in these exciting nascent markets because Amazon – the “world’s biggest bookstore” – blocks downloads to these countries. And no, there is absolutely zero chance Amazon will be opening Kindle stores there in the future.

But here’s the thing. Unless you are in Select you can sell on Amazon and still enjoy the reach of Google Play.

And for those who have tried and given up because of the frustrating experience that was the Google Play self-pub portal, note the use of the past tense there. Google Play has just upgraded their self-pub portal to make it a far easier experience.

Get your ebooks in the 57 Google Play stores (LINK) and grab a ride on Google’s Android One programme.

We often talk about a New Renaissance.  That we are witness to, and participating in, a global renaissance unparalleled in human history.

Just take another glance back over the countries mentioned above. Five years ago smartphones, for all practical purposes, did not exist. Digital reading was, for all practical purposes, non-existent outside of  a handful of rich western nations, and the limited availability and high cost of print books meant reading was a privilege of the elite.

The chance of any author finding a readership for their English-language tiles in Vietnam or Indonesia was limited to having print books left  by tourist when they headed homes.

Digital has changed everything.

Digital democratizes the world, and for those indie authors willing to grasp the nettle, we can now reach readers almost anywhere on the planet.

And with every new smartphone out there that’s another device they could be reading your ebooks on.

If you are available.

How available are your ebooks?

 

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300+ Global Ebook Outlets? It's As Easy As One-Two-FREE!

Go Global In 2014

We all know the ebook market is going global. But for most indie authors it seems we’re still partying like it’s 2009. Many of us are still exclusive with one store, or in so few other outlets that we may as well be.

Meanwhile that international ebook market just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

So just how many global ebook stores can we indie authors get our ebooks into without taking out a second mortgage and busting a blood vessel?

How does over 300 sound?

 ~

 Amazon has eleven Kindle sites, but readers in Ireland, Belgium, Monaco, St. Marino, Switzerland, Austria and New Zealand can buy from neighbouring Kindle stores without surcharges, as can South Africans. So effectively nineteen outlets covered there.

NB In theory many other countries (by no means all – over half the world is blocked totally) can buy from AmCom, but sending readers to Amazon US only to be surcharged will reflect badly on the author, as readers won’t know that the $2+ surcharge (even on “free” ebooks!) goes to Amazon, not to you. For that reason we’re counting just the above-mentioned countries for Amazon.

f you are with Apple you can add another 51 countries to the list. Apple is the second largest ebook distributor by dedicated-country reach. Extensive coverage of North America, Latin America and Europe. Not so hot in Asia or Africa.

Nook is kind of in limbo right now. Apart from the US Barnes & Noble store and Nook UK (a reminder: it’s NOT called B&N in the UK) there are another thirty or so countries served by Nook with a Windows 8 app.

At some stage they will all become fully fledged stores, maybe, but for now, let’s discount those and just add the two key Nook stores to the list.

19 Amazon stores, 51 Apple stores and 2 Nook stores means you already have easy access to 72 global ebook stores.

If you are with Kobo then in theory you’ll be in the localized Kobo stores in US, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Africa, India, UK, Netherlands, Germany, France… You’ll be in Kobo partner stores like Bookworld, Collins, Angus & Robertson and Pages & Pages in Australia, in PaperPlus in New Zealand, in National Book Store in the Philippines, in Crossword in India, in Indigo in Canada, in Fnac in France and Portugal, in Mondadori in Italy, in Livraria Cultura in Brazil, and probably a few more that aren’t springing to mind right now.

Okay, so twenty-two more retail outlets right there, taking you up to 92.

Then there’s the Indiebound stores. Indiebound is a Kobo partner project whereby bricks and mortar indie stores have a Kobo ebook store integrated with their website. As an example, checkout Poor Richard’s in Kentucky. Or The Velveteen Rabbit Bookshop & Guest House in Wisconsin. Or Octavia Books in New Orleans.

We haven’t done a full appraisal of all of the Indiebound stores yet (soon!), but there are well over FOUR HUNDRED b&m indie bookstores selling ebooks via Kobo. Some just send you to the main Kobo store. Others have a fully integrated ebook store as part of their website.

We discount the first lot here and just include those with an integrated Kobo store. Let’s play safe and say there are, very conservatively, just 50 integrated Indiebound stores with your ebooks in (more likely well over 200!).

Suddenly we’re looking at 142 retailers with your ebooks in.

If you are in ‘txtr that’s another twenty stores right now, and with six more in Latin America about to open.

162 global retail stores.

If you are with Smashwords then as well as ‘txtr you ought to also be in Blio and Versent, and in the Indian megastore Flipkart.

Bookbaby will also get you into Blio and Flipkart, and if you are with Bookbaby you can be in eSentral. E-Sentral is based in Malaysia but also has stores in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and Brunei.

Bookbaby will also get you into Ciando, one of the key retail outlets in Germany. And as per this link – http://www2.ciando.com/ – the Ciando ebook store in Germany is in English!

For those who haven’t been keeping count that’s 173 global ebook retailers.

Throw in All-Romance and OmniLit, which is free-access, to make that 175.

American and British indies often don’t look beyond Smashwords and D2D, and maybe Bookbaby, totally ignoring the free-access aggregators in Europe like Xin-Xii and Narcissus. We do so at our peril.

Xin-Xii will get you into the seven key Tolino Alliance stores (Hugendubel, Weltbild, Thalia, etc) that devastated Amazon market share last year. Essential places to be if you want to make it in Germany.

But Xin-Xii will also get you into Donauland in Austria, Casa del Libro in Spain, Family Christian in the US, Otto in Germany, and Libris in the Netherlands. It will also get you in the ebook stores of the mobile phone operators O2 and Vodafone.

Lost count yet? We’re talking 189 global ebook stores already.

So let’s see if Narcissus can push us over that 200 mark. Narcissus is based in Italy, and little known outside, but it a gem of an aggregator.

Quite apart from many of the stores already covered above, Narcissus will also get you in Ultima, in LaFeltrinelli, in IBS, in Net-Ebook, in Libreria Rizzoli, in Cubolibri, in Book Republic, in Ebookizzati, in DEAStore, in Webster, in MrEbook, in Ebook.it, inLibrisalsus, in Libreria Fantasy, in The First Club, in Omnia Buk, in Il Giardino Dei Libri, in CentoAutori, in Excalibooks, in Hoepli, in San Paolo Store, in Libramente, in Ebook Gratis, in Libreria Ebook, in Byblon Store, in Libreria Pour Femme, as well as numerous specialist and academic stores. Narcissus also distribute to Nokia. Yes, as in the phone company. Ebooks are still widely read on Feature phones, and Nokia leads the way.

But just those 26 examples from Narcissus take us to 215 global ebook stores.

And then there’s Google Play. You can go direct to Google Play or free (pay as you sell) through Narcissus.

Google Play have 57 global ebook stores (and more on the way).

Which takes us up to 272 ebook stores. And counting.

On top of this we can add the ebook subscription services like Oyster (US only) and Scribd (global), accessible through Bookbaby, Smashwords and (in the case of Scribd) D2D.

Then there’s digital libraries. Even leaving aside the as yet unresolved mess that is the Smashwords-OverDrive saga, indies with Smashwords or Bookbaby may be in libraries through Baker & Taylor.

Bookbaby also distribute to the wholesale catalogues Copia and Gardners, which supply libraries and also a ton more retail stores over and above those listed above.

Throw in the Copia and Gardners outlets and we EASILY cross the 300 retailer mark.

Remember, ALL these are accessible free of charge (you pay a percentage per sale).

There are other options, like Vook. IngramSpark and Ebook Partnership, which would substantially add to this list, but these options either have up-front costs or offer a very poor percentage return for free-access.

But worth noting that players like Ebook Partnership can get you not just into the OverDrive catalogue, which means an appearance in key stores like Books-A-Million, Waterstone’s, Infibeam, Kalahari and Exclus1ves, as well as the myriad OverDrive library partners, but also other key up and coming outlets like Magzter, like Bookmate in Russia, and so on and so on.

 ~

 The global ebook market is growing by the day. There are huge new markets opening up in Latin America, in India, in China, and across SE Asia right now that most indies are not a part of.

In the near future Africa will take a big leap forward as retailers make ebooks accessible to the hundreds of millions of Africans currently locked out of our cozy ebook world.

Make no mistake. The global ebook market will dwarf the US ebook market many, many, many times over as it gains momentum.

No, there won’t be many overnight successes, yes it will take time, and yes it will require a good few hours of effort to make sure you are in all these stores in the first place.

Sorry. There are no magic wands to wave. No just-add-water instant solutions.

No pain, no gain.

But you only have to upload to these stores once, and a handful of aggregators can do most of them for you in a couple of rounds, planting the seeds for future harvests. Then you just need to pop back now and again to tend the garden. It’s a one-off effort now that will pay back over a life-time as these global markets take off.

That list of 300+ stores above is just going to grow and grow and GROW as market fragmentation and international expansion gather momentum. The global ebook market has barely left the starting line!

The savvy indie author thinks about the next five years, not the next five days. Don’t get lost in the minutiae of your every-day ebook life and miss the bigger picture here.

Because we are all privileged to be part of something that is way, way bigger than just selling our books. We are witnessing – participating in – the early stages of a New Renaissance quite unparalleled in human history.

A New Renaissance on a global scale that will not just make accessible existing art forms to every single person on the planet, but will create new art forms as yet unknown, but in which we can be sure writers will play a key role.

Be part of it.

Global Ebook News Round-Up

GoGlobalIn2014_500

It’s the weekend, so just a few snippets today from the international ebook scene.

Indonesian Dragon

Lenova is a big name in devices in the Far East. Last month it launched its latest smartphone, the Vibe X. Just one more device readers overseas might be reading your ebooks on.

Of course new devices are hitting the markets pretty much every day. We mention this one because it comes with an exclusive app called Dragon. This is an aggregating news and messaging app that is likely to take off big time across the region.

grds

It comes complete with Google Play Books pre-installed. Google Play is the only international ebook store currently supplying the dynamic Indonesian market.

This app is likely to be distributed across the S.E. Asia region soon. Google Play is the only international ebook store with a significant presence here. Draw your own conclusions.

For further information about the fast-growing Indonesian market, see our post here.

Prime Movies and TV Finally Come to the UK. And Germany.

Here in the UK we’ve been watching the countdown to Amazon UK’s launch of its unlimited video and TV streaming service for Prime members.

Flipkart St valentines

This will bring more eyeballs to Amazon UK and boost KindleFire sales,  which in turn will bring more eyeballs to the Kindle UK store.

Our thanks to The Digital Reader for pointing out the launch is also happening over at Amazon Germany.

This is a long overdue move by Amazon to give KindleFire owners outside the US some of the many benefits Americans get.

Netflix UK has been here a while, but has not done anywhere near as well as in the US, thanks in large part to a rival operation called Blinkbox. Regulars here at the EBUK blog will be familiar with the name Blinkbox. It’s owned by the UK supermarket chain Tesco, the same one about to launch the Tesco Blinkbox Books ebook store. Interesting times ahead.

Fan Fiction

While enjoying the increased options to view, TV and film fans would do well to keep an eye on Amazon’s innovative venture Kindle Worlds, which allows indie authors the chance to write books about selected TV and film shows and get paid for it.

While Kindle Worlds in unquestionably leading the way in opening up commercial fan-fiction to indies, there’s plenty more opportunities on the horizon. More on this soon.

Comic Books and Books of Comics

Archie Comics are bringing out novels featuring their comic characters. The first appears next week, with another due out this summer.

archie

This is nothing new in itself. Marvel and DC among others have been producing novels about their characters and worlds for many a year. These are commissioned works, of course, but as we’ll be showing in a special post next week, there are plenty of opportunities arising for savvy indie authors to get in on the act at a broader level.

Ukraine’s Best-kept Secret

The Digital Reader this past week reported a new a ebook app from Pocketbook, a Ukrainian-based outfit most of us will never have heard of, but that we might want to keep an eye on for future.

We’ll be covering Obreey and it’s partner store LitRes in detail this spring when we take a closer look at the emerging ebook markets in Russia and the CIS.

uyg

Google Play is already in Russia and there are strong indications we may see a Kobo Russia and a Kindle Russia store this year, but don’t hold your breath waiting.

Some indies are getting into LitRes, and if you check out the Obreey link above you’ll find it has an English-language version of the store selling English language ebooks. Nothing to get excited over right now, but the Russian / CIS ebook market could yet bring rich rewards.

Meantime, if you do make the effort to get in now you might just find yourself a big fish in a small pond.

Indie Ebook Stores Gifted Cash By Bestselling Author

Back to the USA now, where gazillion-selling author James Patterson has  just handed out cheques to fifty-five indie book stores totalling a quarter of a million dollars, with the plan to give away one million dollars int total. Why? To ensure indie book stores survive the transition from print to digital.

No, there is no stipulation the stores must promote the Patterson books.

Here at EBUK we regularly feature indie bookstores in our Ebook Bargains US newsletter. Many indie book stores now have their own ebook stores complimenting their print books, and pretty much all indie bookstores at least have their own website where you’ll very likely find your PODs for sale.

We’ll be looking at the rise and rise of the indie ebook store in detail soon. None of them are big enough to make a difference to you on their own, but collectively you could be gaining a lucrative new income stream if you are getting your titles into these myriad micro-outlets.

Subscription Audio-Books For Kids

Of course ebooks and POD are just two of many opportunities for indie authors to reach new audiences. Audio-books is another. If you write for children you’ll love this new audio-book subscription service for kids.

nhggc

As we’ll be exploring in future posts, audio books have reach far beyond the obvious, and audio should be high on the list of priorities for indie authors wanting to go global.

Many ESL (English as Second Language) readers may have learned the language from visiting English-speaking countries or simply from TV, film and radio. They may well having a good understanding of the spoken word but struggle with making sense of the written word. A perfect new audience for your titles if you have audio-versions.

And that’s just one of several opportunities for global audio we’ll be looking at shortly.

Tweet Your Way To Jakarta

Back to Indonesia now, where Indonesian Idol, said country’s very own version of that wonderful / dreadful (delete as appropriate) TV show is allowing viewers to vote for their favourite act with tweets – paid tweets.

As we reported before, Indonesia is the third biggest Facebook country in the world and safe to presume twitter gets  a fair bit of use there too.

The aggregator and ebook services provider Bookbaby has a free PDF download called Twitter For Authors In Ten Minutes A Day which, if you’re not comfortable using twitter may be worth grabbing.

We know some authors are doing well using twitter to reach readers globally. Ditto Facebook, Google+ and all the other SMP options. We’ll be looking more closely soon at how you can use SMP to boost international sales in the most unlikely of places.

Bookbaby have been in the news this week due to a new promotion-partnership with two key reader-focussed websites, Goodreads and NoiseTrade. You can of course sign-up with both Goodreads and NoiseTrade quite independently of Bookbaby.

Bookbaby offers some great free-at-upload distribution options, including Copia and eSentral which most other aggregators haven’t got covered.

Retailer Round-Up

No retailer round-up today as this is just a snippets post. Retailer Round-Up will be back with our next Feature  posting.

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The Scoop on Indonesia – Beauty Pageants and Ebooks

GoGlobalIn2014_500

Whatever you may think of beauty pageants, the latest Miss Indonesia pageant is worth taking a look at.

No, not for the girls. If you want to see the winners follow the link, but here at EBUK we prefer to look at the bigger picture. And the bigger picture emerging in the Far East is one all indie authors should be keeping any eye on.

As we say here constantly, the English language is your greatest asset. It is the lingua franca of the world, and trad pub is raking in the cash from English language ebooks sales overseas. Not just in the obvious places like Australia and New Zealand, or in west Europe, but in places you might not expect, like Vietnam, or Indonesia.

~

When you think of Indonesia you probably think of tsunami disasters, Muslim extremists or an impoverished, backward country whose only contact with the outside world is the luxury holiday hotels on those beautiful beaches, where a handful of rich westerners will never leave the poolside to see the wonderful country beyond.

The reality is rather different. Indonesia is one of the emerging powerhouses of the Far East. Not only does Indonesia have its own off-and-on space programme, but huge investments are being made in Indonesia’s digital future and many Indonesian companies are leading the way in the conquest of cyberspace.

One sign of Indonesia’s obsession with the web is the Miss Indonesia pageant. While Maria Asteria Sastrayu Rahajeng took the key Miss Indonesia 2014 title, there were other crowns to be claimed. Jesslyn Anggasta Hardi is Miss Online; Siti Anida Lestari is Miss Chatting; and Olivia Pramaisella is Miss Social Media.

Miss Social Media? Seriously. Miss Social Media and Miss Chatting are new additions to the crowns available, but Miss Online has been about a few years now.

The new titles are sponsored by a Chinese outfit you’ve probably never heard of called Tencent who run a social media platform you’ve probably never heard of  called WeChat. Think of them as the Far East’s answer to Facebook. Only bigger, better, and far more ambitious. We’ll come back to WeChat another time. Store away the names Tencent and WeChat in the ebook toolbox. You’ll need them later.

For now, let’s stick with a social media platform we all know of. Facebook. Because bizarre though it may seem Indonesians have actually heard of Facebook too.

In fact, Indonesia is the third biggest Facebook country in the world. It’s growing at such a rate it is predicted it will knock the UK off the number two spot very soon.

And get this. Twenty-one per cent of Indonesian Facebook users conduct their FB business in English.

~

But let’s get back to Miss Indonesia.  First off, if you do chose to click on the link to see Miss Indonesia 2014 and Miss Social Media and the other co-winners you’ll find they could easily pass as participants in any western beauty pageant.

Divest yourself immediately of any stereotype notions you may have that all Muslim countries are clones of Afghanistan and run by the Taliban. The Far East nations are embracing western culture, not fighting it, and that includes ebooks.

Ebooks in Indonesia? Well, not from a certain American online giant, who prefers to block downloads to most of the Far East and surcharge the few it does allow to buy. Sorry, you won’t be making any inroads into the Indonesian and Far East markets if you’re in KDP Select, or relying on Amazon to make you an international bestseller.

Apple too has a very disappointing show of iBooks stores in the region. Which is a shame because Apple i-devices are widespread and hugely popular.

Kobo has a great partner store in the Philippines, and is planning to expand into Indonesia and across the region, but who knows when and if this will be carried through?

But western indies wanting to reach Indonesian readers need look no further than Google Play, the fastest-growing and most globally innovative of the big ebook retailers.

Google Play has an Indonesia ebooks store and a Vietnam ebook store and ebook stores in Singapore and Malaysia and… A full report on Google Play’s global strategy soon. Here just to say Google Play has forty-four dedicated international ebook stores and that could easily double this year.

And if you’re thinking Vietnam must be even further behind than Indonesia when it comes to the digital world then check out this eye-opening post on Vietnam from Tech-In-Asia. Vietnam has almost forty million internet users and twenty million of them are on Facebook!

So yes, Vietnam has ebook stores and even their own self-pub portals. But for today, let’s stick with Indonesia.

Most Indonesians will be reading on smartphones and phablets (tablets that double as phones) and while the numbers are still relatively low, the take-up is increasing rapidly. Not least because many Asian tech companies are now producing their own devices and selling them far cheaper than Samsung and Apple can afford to do.

You may never have heard of Smartfren or Mito or Evercoss, but then, most Indonesians have never heard of the KindleFire. But these names you’ve never heard of before and never will again are devices many Indonesians could be reading your ebooks on.

True, readers across Asia could download a Kindle app, but if Amazon is blocking ebook downloads or surcharging buyers, or offering a limited range of Amazon-centred payment options that cannot be used  by most of the world, the Kindle app is pretty irrelevant across much of the globe.

Which is where glocalizing global ebook players like Google Play have the advantage, and why, alongside Amazon and Apple and all the usual suspects, you should be making sure your ebooks are in the Google Play store.

Not, of course, that Indonesia is reliant on the rich west to get ebooks. There are plenty of local and regional ebook stores in Indonesia. No, you’ve never heard of them, but here’s the thing: You don’t live in Indonesia.

Hard though it is for us westerners to grasp, the rest of the world is not sitting back waiting for Jeff Bezos to grace their countries with a Kindle ebook store before they start thinking about digital reading.  Least of all in far-flung Indonesia.

While some may be using Google Play to get ebooks, others may be using US stores that don’t impose territorial restrictions on downloads and payments – stores like Smashwords or Diesel or Blio.

Or they may use the regional players like Thailand-based Ookbee or Malaysia-based e-Sentral.

But many more will be turning to domestic retailers like Scoop, BukuOn, BukuTablet, TokuBuko, Wayang Force and a host of others. And several of these have their own self-pub portals.

Click on the link above to Jakarta-based m-commerce ebook and e-magazine retailer Scoop and you’ll find that while there are local language titles available the actual site is in… English. We cannot overstate this point. If you write in English and are ignoring the global markets you are missing out!

No coincidence that the Indonesian company Scoop has already expanded into English-speaking countries like India, Malaysia and the Philippines, and is partnered with Thailand-based Ookbee to cover the rest of SE Asia.

We’re still investigating the options for western indies to get their titles into the domestic retailers, including Scoop and we’ll return to this subject in the near future with a full report.

For now, we leave you with this thought.

The ebook world is flat. People pretty much everywhere, in any country on the planet, are potential readers of your books. From the skyscrapers of Manhattan to mud-huts in Malawi, the biggest obstacle to you selling your ebooks all over the world is… you. Because you’re relying on a handful of insular retailers and not making your titles widely available.

As we’ll be showing in forthcoming posts, places even more unlikely than Indonesia and Vietnam are embracing ebooks. From the rainforests of Colombia or the pampas of Argentina to the wind-swept Sahara or the jungles of the Congo, people are reading ebooks .

But if they can’t find your ebooks they’ll just read some else’s titles instead. It’s your loss, not theirs.

Just how widely are your ebooks available?

It’s time to Go Global In 2014.

 

Retailer round-Up

 

  • Google Play can be accessed direct if you have the patience of a saint, or through the aggregator Ebook Partnership.
  • More on the domestic Indonesian retailers Scoop, BukuOn, BukuTablet, TokuBuko, Wayang Force and others soon.
  • Smashwords can be found at Smashwords.
  • Diesel can be accessed through Smashwords.
  • Blio can be accessed through Smashwords via Baker & Taylor.
  • E-Sentral can be accessed direct or through Bookbaby.

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