Tag Archives: ‘txtr

Aggregator Wars! PublishDrive Sign Distribution Deal With OverDrive, 24Symbols, Legimi, AllRomance/OmniLit, eSentral, Tookbook, Casa De Libro, RedShelf, Ciando, and India’s Rockstand

When I reported on Draft2Digital’s pending announcement of a distribution deal with 24Symbols I erroneously suggested they would be the only pay-as-you-sell English-language aggregator supplying this subscription service.

Embarrassingly I missed StreetLib (LINK), which supplies not only 24 Symbols but also Bookmate

Today along came the Hungarian aggregator PublishDrive (LINK) and firmly pulled the rug from under Draft2Digital’s feet with an announcement to die for.

Not just access to 24Symbols and another subscription service Legimi, but also access to the OverDrive libraries, to the Ciando libraries, to Tookbook, Casa De Libro, RedShelf, eSentral in SE Asia, and India’s Rockstand.

It’s like Christmas and a birthday all rolled into one!

I’ll be back with a closer look at all the key pay-as-you-sell English language aggregators soon.

Meanwhile, here’s that PublishDrive list again, with links.

Going global just got a whole lot easier!

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

Google Play Books Hits One Billion Installs.

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Txtr may have just closed over twenty global stores (LINK), but the global ebook player that matters, Google Play Books, goes from strength to strength.

According to a report on Ink, Bits & Pixels (LINK) It’s sixty global stores have collectively seen ONE BILLION downloaded Google Play books apps – that’s DOWNLOADED, not pre-installed, according to Nate..

Nate reckons Google Play Books US is by now bigger than Nook. That alone is worth being on Google Play Books for. Even if we count Google Play Books at just 10% of the US market that’s a huge number of readers.

And globally… Google Play is the only western ebook playing offering a window to the key up-and-coming Asian sites like Indonesia and Thailand, and in places like Scandinavia, east Europe an across Latin America where, Brazil and Mexico aside, Amazon is surcharging.

Is Google Play worth the effort? Don’t take our word for it. Take this from the Kindleboards forums as long ago as 2013 when Google Play only had a measly 40 global ebook stores.

“I know some of you are Google-phobic; however, y’all should keep an open mind. You may be leaving a significant chunk of money on the table.  I’m making between 2x — 5x at Google Play compared to Amazon for The Devilhouse Books. I’m quite disappointed with The Devilhouse’s sales at Amazon, and I’d be a sad puppy about now, but for Google Play.” (LINK)

The author later adds,

“I’m huge in Finland, Belarus, and South Africa, like multiple sales every day. Australia, Great Britain, Canada, and the US are my biggest markets by far.”

One reason we love the “smaller” retailers is the chance to be come a big fish in a small pond. This author concurs.

“Small pond. Fewer fish. About 5 sales/day for a unit will land you on the bottoms of the lesser-populated Top Charts, like Fiction & Lit > Short Stories. This leads to increased visibility and higher sales.”

Before you rush off to get your titles into Google Play Books, be warned. The Google Play Books self-pub portal is currently offline while some adjustments are made. If will soon be up again, but if you are too impatient to wait, or live in a country where you can’t upload direct, there are other ways in.

Curiously none of the big American aggregators have a deal with Google Play yet, but the British aggregator Ebook Partnership does and the German aggregator Xin-Xii and the Italian aggregator Narcissus will both get your titles into Google Play Books too..

It’s worth noting that Bookbub, which has dropped Smashwords as a listing-featured store, is carrying ever more Google Play buy buttons as more and more top-selling indies climb on board with Google Play. Yesterday 19 out of 25 Bookbub listings carried Google Play buy buttons.

If Nate’s report is right – and he has a good track record – that’s one billion not-preinstalled but deliberately downloaded Google Play Books apps.

That’s a lot of reasons to get your titles for sale on Google Play Books.

Are yours?

Ebook Bargains UK

Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.

Far more than just the UK.

It's Official. Txtr Has Closed All Its Ebook Stores Except Germany.

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No real surprise here. Just tangible disappointment.

When Txtr began the bankruptcy journey there was some hope that the German media giant Saturn would throw its muscle behind the Txtr project and just maybe give it a new lease of life.

It was not to be,

Twenty-three of the twenty-four global Txtr stores are now shuttered, with a warning to readers that as from June 26 there will be no Txtr store. Period.

The only store not carrying the warning is the Txtr.DE store.

Will Txtr be missed?

Not by most indies, as sadly with a handful of exceptions we’ve never bothered to support the store even if, by chance, we had ebooks there. And that is a real shame because Txtr has been one of the most indie-friendly of the smaller retailers and has always been open to promotional deals with authors. The feedback from authors who did engage with Txtr was always positive.

But now Txtr is back to square one with just the one German-language store.

There’s been no mention on the Smashwords blog about the Txtr issue, despite Smashwords being the only US aggregator distributing indie titles to the Txtr stores.  It remains to be seen if the Smashwords distribution agreement with Txtr will continue for the one remaining Txtr store.

At this stage its not clear if Kobo is going to step in and absorb the Txtr customer-base. They’ve done that in the past – Sony and Tesco Blinkbox for example – , often with no announcement until the last minute, so it could yet happen.

Regardless, on behalf of the handful of indies who did make the effort to work with Txtr, and enjoyed finding new readers by doing so, we’d like to say thanks to the Txtr international team for trying. You’ll be sorely missed.

Ebook Bargains UK

Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.

Far more than just the UK.

Draft2Digital Now Distributes To The Tolino Alliance. Smashwords Beginning To Look Jaded.

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Draft2Digital just took another leap ahead of Smashwords as it introduced the Tolino Alliance stores to its repertoire.

Regulars will know we’ve waxed lyrical about Tolino many times. It’s an alliance of ebook retailers in several countries – Germany, Netherlands, Austria and Belgium – with a collective market share heading towards 45% in Germany, which puts it ahead of Amazon.

Germany is the biggest western book market after the US (ebooks not so much, but coming on fast) and the biggest English-language market after the UK. Yes, bigger than Canada and Australia!

Most indies haven’t seen much action in Germany because most indies are only there through Amazon, Apple and Kobo. Meantime the Tolino stores have been mopping up sales.

Now, thanks to D2D, your E-L titles can be in the Tolino stores across Europe. A full post on the latest with Tolino soon.

Throw in territorial pricing, monthly payments, great reports and a very smooth interface that you can upload scripts direct to and get a tolerable epub conversion (not recommended – it won’t win any prizes – but far easier than going through the Meatgrinder) and it’s yet another reason to make D2D your primary aggregator.

Smashwords still has some irons in the fire. Flipkart, Txtr and the OverDrive library catalogue for example. But where they overlap then, unless you already selling well through Smashwords (in which case a move would lose your momentum), it really would make sense to focus on D2D and use Smashwords as the secondary means of distribution.

Congrats to D2D for reaching out to Tolino. Google Play next, guys? That would really set you a world apart from the rest.

Smashwords maybe the biggest indie outlet right now, but for how much longer?

And Ebook Partnership, another of your jewels has just been stolen. You really need to move to a pay-as-you-sell model. The USPs you still have, great as they are, simply do not justify the annual fees anymore.

Ebook Bargains UK

Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.

Far more than just the UK.

’Txtr Launches Ebook Stores In Latin America. Wears Its Smashwords Badge With Pride. Indies, It’s Time To Return The Favour!

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Berlin-based ebook retailer ‘txtr (for those unfamiliar, there’s no capital, no vowels and the apostrophe is in the right place!) is about to take another big leap forward with the imminent launch of six new ebook stores. Five in South America – Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela – and another in Mexico.

At this point the store menu (bottom right on the ‘txtr home page) has visual links to the new stores, but they feed back to the central store in Germany. We’re hoping to hear back from ‘txtr on a firm launch date for these, and whether we can expect ‘txtr to follow Google Play’s lead and roll out across a wider swathe of Latin America.

Some observers will be dismissive.

‘Txtr has yet to make a significant impact anywhere, and its token stores in the US, Canada, UK and Australia face fierce competition from established American and domestic brands. ‘Txtr also has the failure of its ultra-cheap ereader the ‘txtr Beagle to weigh down its reputation.

But as Tennyson would have said had he lived to see digital books, better to have tried and lost, than never to have tried at all.

Here’s the thing: ‘txtr is a plucky little outfit with ambition, vision and, it seems, enough money (3M, itself no stranger to ebooks, are among its backers) to play the long game.

With twenty-five global stores ‘txtr has already more than doubled Amazon’s Kindle stores, and is firmly in third place behind Google Play and Apple for dedicated ebook stores catering to overseas markets. Throw in the reach of ‘txtr’s partner stores and ‘txtr ebooks are available in some fifty countries. Without surcharges.

Our guess is Russia, Brazil and India will be priorities for ‘txtr, and then to embrace those areas of Europe so far by-passed (notably Scandinavia and east Europe), before turning its attention to S.E. Asia, following close on Google Play’s heels.

For indies this is great news. While some indies have been enjoying sales at ‘txtr for several years through Ebook Partnership, it is only recently that ‘txtr has been easily accessible, thanks to a distribution deal with Smashwords.

Yet bizarrely many indies seem to have opted out of ‘txtr distribution.

Their loss, because ‘txtr is one of the few ebook stores that wears its indie badge with pride.

Check out the indie section on ‘txtr’s US and UK sites, where indie titles are being given significant exposure. Not a self-pub ghetto like on OverDrive (an update on this soon) but front page stuff saying ‘txtr are PROUD to host self-published titles.

At which point you’ll be thinking, yeah, very nice, but it will be the usual suspects. Ordinary indies like us don’t stand a chance.

Think again.

No sign of Hugh Howey and Joe Konrath here! Konrath of course is exclusive with Amazon (apart from Be The Monkey), and Howey, it seems, just can’t be bothered with ‘txtr, or even Smashwords. Given Smashword’s is the world’s biggest indie aggregator and indie ebook store this is a rather curious stance from someone who purports to champion the self-pub cause.

So which indies are ‘txtr showcasing?

Click on this link – http://us.txtr.com/smashwords/?referral=banner – and you’ll see a slide show of highlighted indie authors. Delve deeper to see highlighted indie series and other great little boosters.

Doubtful these authors will be buying their second luxury yacht off of ‘txtr sales just yet, but don’t dismiss ‘txtr out of hand just because no-one’s ever heard of it in indieland.

In the real world beyond, ‘txtr has a lot going for it.

An ebook store with over a million titles, a great device-agnostic platform, and a key understanding of glocalization that Amazon sorely lacks.

While Amazon hints at a pending Kindle Netherlands store, maybe, some time, when they can be bothered, and meanwhile surcharges Dutch readers who try to buy from the Everything Store, ‘txtr long since provided the Dutch with their own ebook store. And the Belgians, and the Swiss, and the Danes, and the Poles, and the Hungarians, and…

In fact, going where Amazon can’t be bothered is a key part of ‘txtr’s strategy.

“Especially in markets where Amazon isn’t yet present, network operators can combine the competitive advantage of being first to market with their billing capabilities to lead the development of the local ebook market. txtr’s e-reading service comes with an integrated billing solution, but we have extensive experience of connecting to 3rd party payment providers.”

‘Txtr has been around since 2008, a year before Amazon launched KDP, and as above counts 3M among its backers. At the other end of the business ‘txtr counts classy book retailers like Foyles (UK), and major tech-players like T-Mobile and Lenova as partners.

‘Txtr may not have Amazon’s brand recognition or traffic, and may forever be a bit-player in the key US and UK markets, and even in its home market in Germany, but elsewhere ‘txtr is shaping up to be a significant player in the global ebook market Amazon shuns.

Here’s the thing: Amazon’s Kindle stores runs on rails. Print rails. It’s a sad irony that the store dedicated to accelerating the transition to digital at home (mainly to reduce storage overheads and shipping costs) predicates its international Kindle expansion on the print market.

That’s just beginning to pay off in Brazil, where Amazon is starting to gain traction in the lucrative print market. But as anyone who has sold an ebook on Kindle BR will know, you can hit the best-seller charts with a single sale, and make the higher echelons of the in-store chart with just a handful.

Brazilians were buying ebooks from domestic and Latin American stores back when Amazon was slapping surcharges on readers who tried to buy from AmCom. No surprise then that Brazilians haven’t rushed to embrace the Kindle store since it launched.

And it’s a similar story across the Amazon sites. With the exception of maybe Kindle UK and Kindle DE, the satellite Kindle stores are simply adjuncts to Amazon’s actual or pending print and other e-commerce interests in those countries.

Which is why we can’t even hope, let alone expect, Amazon ever to become a global ebook player in the way that Google Play and ‘txtr are now positioning themselves.

As the global ebook markets burgeons, so Amazon will become more and more marginalized.

Not a problem for those authors who think the US and UK are the be-all and end-all of their publishing existence – Amazon will continue to be the dominant player here for the foreseeable future. But for anyone with ambitions to become a truly international bestselling author it is stores like Google Play and ‘txtr that will help make it happen.

At the moment Google Play, while supportive of self-publishers (Google Play is actively seeking out indie authors to sign up for special deals) does not make it easy for us.

The Google Play self-pub portal is a challenging process, and as yet very few aggregators will get you in. The UK’s Ebook Partnership and Italy’s Narcissus, and Ingram and Vook seem to be the only alternatives to going direct.

With ‘txtr, by contrast, access is as easy as signing up to Smashwords.

And as is now plain for all to see, ‘txtr won’t hide your Smashwords titles away like OverDrive does.

Just the opposite. ‘Txtr will proudly shout them from the rooftops.

At a time when indie authors are increasingly being sidelined by ebook stores (in the UK three of the biggest ebook retailers have no self-pub titles at all); at a time when Trad Pub is dominating the ebook charts; and while the big players like Amazon and Kobo continue to pay lip-service to indies while giving Big Pub all the perks (how many years has it taken just for indies to get pre-orders?), we need all the friends we can get.

If you are in Smashwords and have for some reason opted out of ‘txtr, you might want to reconsider.

If you are not in Smashwords at all, then the ‘txtr distribution alone is a good reason to reconsider, plus they have great distribution to Flipkart, India’s biggest ebook store. So far as we know Smashwords is the only “free” (pay-as-you-sell – there are no free lunches!) aggregator getting titles into ‘txtr.

So a big round of applause to Mark Coker and Smashwords for the deal with ‘txtr, and an even bigger one to ‘txtr for embracing and promoting self-published titles, instead of hiding them away.

Now how about we indies do something to show our appreciation?

Next time you’re doing some promo, spare a thought for ‘txtr. No, none of the big promo newsletters even know ‘txtr exists, but there’s nothing to stop you adding a ‘txtr link to your tweets and FB posts.

If we all tweeted a ‘txtr link alongside our Amazon links it could make a big difference, not just to our sales, but to ‘txtr’s future.

‘Txtr is making the effort for us. Let’s return the favour.

 

Ebook Bargains UK.

Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.

Far more than just the UK.

 

What Are The Top Five Countries For Romance Ebook Sales?

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We all know romance is a very, very popular genre and many ebooks authors are doing exceptionally well, but we also know most only focus their attention on two countries – the US and UK – and of course therefore only see results from two countries.

We’ve been arguing a long time now that the global market is worth the effort, but very few indies are taking this seriously. We ran a post here back in February stressing the significance of the Indian market for romance writers. Again, it fell on largely deaf ears.

This week there emerged some new data that shows how wrong you are to be ignoring the wider world.

What are the top five countries for romance ebooks? Obviously the US and UK take poll positions.

But in third, fourth and fifth place in order are…drum roll please…India, Australia and South Africa.

And the stores are worth looking at. Obviously it goes without saying Amazon is top, and Apple and Nook close behind. But this report from Epub Direct also cites the following stores as performing well with romance titles.

Quote:

Other sales channels that are quite virile are ebooks.com, Flipkart, Kobo, Sainsbury, Txtr, Asia Books, Fishpond and Libri.

Unquote.

For the UK, read W H Smith for Kobo, and for Australia Angus & Robertson and Bookworld.

Ebooks.com is an Australian store (the oldest ebook store still going in fact!) that sells in US dollars. Supplied via Ingram.

Sainsbury is off limits to indies, but make no mistake Sainsbury (and lately Tesco – too early for any stats for Blinkbox) are doing very well.

Txtr gets a mention. Remember Txtr has twenty global stores, and you can be sure most of Txtr’s sales are not coming from the Txtr US and Txtr UK sites… Txtr are not in India, which means Txtr sales will be coming from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and mainland Europe. If you are with Smashwords or Ebook Partnership you will be in the Txtr stores.

Flipkart is well up there, of course. See our Valentine’s post to understand why Indians love western romances.

Then there’s small players like Libri, Asia Books and Fishpond that indies just love to write off as a waste of time.

Of course Epub Direct, who compiled this report, supply a ton of other retailers too. In fact they have the best reach of any distributor, including getting titles into the key UK stores WH Smith, Sainsbury and Tesco Blinkbox, all off limits to indies.

No, Epub Direct don’t deal with indies (logistical, not philosophical – they are not anti-indie, just not set up to cater for individuals) but what they don’t know about ebook distribution and selling probably isn’t worth knowing.

If you are with a publisher make sure they know about Epub Direct and (if they are big enough) demand they sign up. For the rest of us… Well, for now they are off limits, but we’re hoping someone from Epub Direct will come and share with us their thoughts on how things migt pan out in the future.

Meanwhile, a few other key points from this report:

Subscription services are performing well for romance. Ditto for libraries except for erotica, where many libraries filter titles or – as with OverDrive and Smashwords – simply don’t want to know.

Romance titles see less blockbusters so the market is far more evenly spread and self-pubbers have a better chance of getting in. Look at any best-seller chart where indies are to see this is true.

Romance titles do well in series and are less affected by seasonal buying, so a good year round bet.

Nor is it just India. Michael Tamblyn, Kobo’s president said this week “For e-book retailers like us, it has helped Romance become a huge part of our business.” As we all know, Kobo is not amajor player in the US, so these sales are coming from elsewhere.

But to finish this post a reminder- India is the third biggest market for English language romance titles according to one of the world’s biggest ebook distributors. And no, you don’t need to write about Indian characters in Indian settings to appeal to Indian readers, as we said in the EBUK post in February, and as the new Epub Direct report shows.

 

Ebook Bargains UK

Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.

Far more than just the UK.

Smashwords Goes From Strength To Strength

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Smashwords stepped up their game this week with two major distribution announcements. On Monday Mark Coker kicked off with news that Smashwords are now officially distributing to the Berlin-based ebook retailer ‘txtr.

On Tuesday Coker announced a partnership with OverDrive to get indie titles into digital libraries.

EBUK regulars won’t be surprised by the news, as we’ve reported on both several times over the past months.

At this stage it appears the OverDrive deal is only for library distribution and will not involve OverDrive’s retail partners like Waterstone’s, so there’s still good reason to check out the British aggregator Ebook Partnership, which does get you into Waterstone’s, and also a host of other outlets currently not on Smashwords’ radar. Not least Google Play.

How long before Smashwords adds Google Play to its growing list? Coker’s not saying, but no question Smashwords are, at long last, embracing the opportunities presented by the blossoming global ebook markets.

This will be an interesting year for Smashwords. But Mark Coker, if you’re reading this, what would really impress us would be deals with Google Play, Copia, Gardners and Ingram, and targetting the European markets (esp. Germany and the Tolino stores), Latin America (esp. BajalLibros) and the Far East (esp. Indonesia’s Scoop and Thailand’s Ookbee).

The deal with ‘txtr (no, no capital, no vowels, and the apostrophe is compulsory) is an exciting development that will bring rewards to those indies willing to step outside the Only Amazon Matters mindset and actually try PROMOTING the ‘txtr stores.

Did we say stores, plural? Believe it! ‘Txtr have dedicated ebook stores (local languages and currencies) in, wait for it, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, UK, and USA. Plus an International store selling in euros to the world.

The list is worth looking at closely. Amazon forces Belgian readers to buy from Amazon France, expects Austrians to buy from Amazon Germany, only lets Swiss readers uy from France or Germany in a foreign currency, gives the Irish the choice to buy from Amazon UK or Amazon US – both in a foreign currency – and expects New Zealanders to buy from Amazon Australia or Amazon US – both in a foreign currency.

‘Txtr understands that the Swiss use Swiss francs, not euros, the Irish spend euros not pounds, New Zealanders like to pay in NZ dollars not AU dollars and South Africans flash the cash in rands, not US dollars.

As for readers in Denmark, Poland, Hungary, Netherlands, etc… Amazon not only expects them to pay in a foreign currency – US dollars – but charges them a $2-$4 surcharge on top of the list price and on top of the currency exchange fees they’ll be hit with. Amazon even imposes the surcharge on your free ebooks. And no, you won’t see a cent of it.

Google Play does serve these countries too – and yes, Google Play too manages a dedicated store and local currencies – but few indies are with Google Play (you can go direct or via Ebook Partnership) so for most authors the Smashwords-‘txtr will be the first serious opportunity to build a non-Apple readership in places like the Netherlands, Denmark and Poland. Don’t waste it!

And for those wondering if anyone there understands enough English to make it worthwhile, there are 15 million English-speakers in Netherlands, 12 million in Poland and 4 million in Denmark.

~

Smashwords authors were told they see their titles appearing in the ‘txtr stores at the end of this week, but in fact some titles are already showing. Many have serious pricing errors like $2.99 titles showing at $6.99. If that’s happening with you, email Mark Coker and give them time. Teething problems are to be expected. We’ve had confirmation from indies in ‘txtr stores via other routes that ‘txtr pricing is usually very reliable.

Spend some time now getting familiar with the ‘txtr stores so when your titles do go live you can hit the ground running and let readers know.

The best place to start is ‘txtr UK, as this gets good Google results and is in English. So are the US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand sites of course, but the search engines in our experience tend not to pick them up so easily.

Just search for ‘txtr UK, or go to http://gb.txtr.com/ and then tootle down to the right-hand corner where you’ll find a menu for all the ‘txtr stores and can get the country-specific link and price in local currency ready for your promo.

Don’t expect miracles. The ‘txtr US and Canada stores are obviously insignificant, but ’txtr are picking up steam elsewhere. ‘Txtr are a Berlin-based operator so have a good presence in Germany (45 million English-speakers since you ask), Austria and central Europe. ‘Txtr supply epub files which can be read using the free ‘txtr app on any tablet, not just their own ereader – the ‘txtr Beagle.

In addition to their own stores ‘txtr also act as a feeder for other stores like Britain’s prestigious Foyles, and also the Sony Australia, Austria, UK and Germany Reader Stores, though given the said Sony stores are closing shortly that’s academic.

‘Txtr won’t bring you sales in big numbers any time soon, if ever, but for those of you who value reaching readers globally and building a long-term career, over chasing quick-fix sales from one or two big retailers, the Smashwords partnership with ‘txtr is wonderful opportunity.

If you have an author website then take time out to set up a showcase for your international portfolio of ebooks. We’ll be posting in detail on suggestions how to do this shortly, but here suffice to say if you are with Apple, Kobo, Google Play and ‘txtr you will be able to proudly display your titles with links in local currencies to local retailers in around one hundred different countries.

Then instead of spending time promoting one or two stores over and over you can promo your author website and let readers make their own choice about which retailer they will buy from. And of course you can also sell direct to readers, which is another option we’ll be looking at more closely soon.

If you’re Going Global In 2014 then do keep in mind it’s a two-part process.

Being there is of course half the battle. If your titles aren’t available no-one can buy them.

But the other half is letting readers know you’re there.

Tweet a ‘txtr link a day to build a truly global readership.

 

Ebook Bargains UK.

Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.

Far more than just the UK.

Leading The Way – It's The USA. Or Is It?

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Leading The Way – It’s The USA. Or Is It?

As we all know the USA leads the way with ebook innovation. Except when it doesn’t.

While America is busily congratulating itself on inventing ebook subscription services that have already been around in the rest of the world for years (in Latin America Nuvem de Libros already has one million subscribers in Argentina and Brazil, and is set to roll out across more of the continent in 2014), Europe continues to innovate in ways to reach readers.

As long ago as 2012 Random House Mondadori were putting ebooks on trains in Spain. Settle in your seat, scan a code with your smartphone or tablet and get to start reading for free. The hope being the traveller will want to continue reading after the journey and buy the book.

That’s the same Spain that has actually had an ebook subscription service – 24 Symbols  –    up and running for several years now.

And if you’re thinking Random House sounds familiar, yes, Random House Mondadori is the Spanish arm of one of the Big 5 publishers we’re always being told don’t know what ebooks are.

For the record Random House Mondadori are now called Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial and Mondadori is now called Literatura Random House. Which at least avoids confusion with the Italian publisher and ebook retailer Mondadori, who are very indie friendly and have a great English-language section.

In Germany, meanwhile, its books on buses. In a new initiative called Time4Books the German publisher Piper Verlag lets bus travellers download excerpts from a rolling range of Piper Verlag’s own ebook titles.

And yes, that’s the same Germany that has had ebook subscription services through Skoobe for the past two years.

We’ll be returning to the exciting opportunities offered by subscription ebook services in the near future.

Poles Apart

In Poland publishers are making the most of Amazon’s myopic attitude towards central and eastern Europe (which is to either surcharge readers or block downloads completely). Despite there being no Kindle Poland store, and very limited availability of Kindle devices in the country, there are a large number of Kindles flooding in from the many Poles who have been living / working in western Europe and who return with Kindle devices and Kindle accounts, but no Polish Kindle content.

Innovative Polish publishers are busily producing local language ebooks in multiple formats including mobi, so Kindle users can read them on their Amazon devices without having to shop at Amazon and pay the surcharge.

As well as Apple, Google Play and ‘txtr, all of which somehow manage to have dedicated Poland ebook stores without the need to surcharge (Jeff Bezos, are you listening?) there are a ton of smaller domestic ebook outlets catering for the growing number of readers going digital in Poland.

Ad of course Poles can also buy from Smashwords, Diesel and other US stores with international payment options and no territorial restrictions.

There are at least ten million English-speakers in Poland who might want to read English-language ebooks, buy English language print books or listen to English language audio books.

How widely are your titles available?

Sugar-Frosted Ebooks. They’re Gr-r-r-reat!

As reported previously, in Britain kids can now read ebooks while they eat their breakfast, thanks to the innovative supermarket ebook store Sainsbury, who advertise children’s ebooks on the back of their own-brand cereal packets, complete with a QR code you just scan with your tablet or smartphone.

That’s the same Sainsbury ebook store that late last year ran a competition to win tea at Downton Abbey, had Amazon desperately playing catch-up price-matching one-day 99p sales of big name authors, and this week is offering double Nectar points on in-store supermarket shopping every time you spend £5 on ebooks in the Sainsbury ebook store online.

Expect more innovative moves from Sainsbury this year, along with fellow supermarket Tesco, which will be launching the long-awaited Blinkbox Books in the very near future.

Bricks & Clicks vs Clicks  & Lockers

Selling well on Amazon UK? Enjoy it while it lasts. It won’t last long.

There’s going to be an indie bloodbath this summer as two tribes go to war. Sainsbury and Tesco are both off limits to indies right now, but will be discounting big trad-pubbed names to ridiculously low prices.

Grab yourself a ringside seat for the battle of the decade. Never mind the Rumble in the Jungle. It’s going to be Bricks & Clicks vs Clicks & Lockers as Tesco and Sainsbury go head to head with Amazon UK. They’ll be taking no prisoners and indie authors will be the casualties as Amazon fights to hold its ground against the biggest threat Amazon UK has yet faced.

And for those of you across the pond shaking heads and telling each other it will never happen here, don’t be too complacent. Walmart will be watching every move here in the UK.

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Retailer Round-Up

We’re regularly asked, in comments threads and directly, how an indie author actually gets into all these ebook stores we mention, so hereon we’ll be ending each post with a brief retailer round-up covering each outlet we reference in the main post.

If anyone has any additional information, or corrections, do let us know. And if you’re reading this long after the publication date, do check more recent posts for updated information.

Nuvem de Libros – off limits to indies right now, and Spanish-language only.

24 Symbols – No direct access for indie authors, but we are exploring ways of getting in through third parties. More on that soon.

 Mondadori – Italy’s biggest ebook store is thoughtfully supplied by Kobo. If you are in Kobo there’s a fifty-fifty chance you’ll be in the Mondadori book store. Sadly Kobo’s distribution right now is such a mess we can’t be more optimistic than that.

Skoobe – No obvious way into Skoobe for English-language indies at this stage, but Skoobe have plans for an English-language version targeting the US and UK. You can sign up for advance notification here.

Time4Books – no indie access in the Time4Books initiative as its Piper Verlag’s exclusive project, but our guess is wholesalers like OverDrive will be launching similar initiatives soon that indies may be able to take advantage of. .

Google Play Poland, Apple Poland and ‘txtr Poland – Getting into one Google Play store gets you into all, and the same goes for Apple and ‘txtr.

Google Play can be accessed direct if you are in a Google Play country, although the portal is not that user-friendly. Alternatively, try the aggregator Ebook Partnership. Google Play have 44 stores globally and an ambitious roll-out programme this year.

Apple can be accessed direct if you have the right Apple equipment, or through most aggregators, including Smashwords, D2D, Xin-Xii, Bookbaby and Ebook Partnership. Apple have 51 ebook stores globally.

‘Txtr can be accessed through the Gardners wholesale catalogues or through Ebook Partnership. There is a pending distribution deal between ‘txtr and Smashwords, but that’s not official yet. ‘Txtr have eighteen ebook stores globally and an ambitious but slow-to-progress expansion programme.

We’ll be running a guest feature shortly on how to get into Gardner’s direct.

 Amazon Poland – Just kidding. The chances of a Kindle Poland store are about as high as a Kindle Papua New Guinea store. That said, we’d love to be proved wrong. On both counts!

 Smashwords – direct access through the Smashwords site. Not the smoothest of rides but a great little platform to be on for global reach even if you are not using their partner stores.

Diesel – although a California-based indie store Diesel is also accessible globally and can send out your ebooks wherever a buyer desires. Accessible through Smashwords.

Sainsbury – sadly while Sainsbury is probably (no official stats yet – it only went live last year) the second biggest player in the UK it is completely off limits to indies, and likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Tesco Blinkbox – launching this spring, and no chance of any indies getting in here either. That may change, but not soon.

Ebook Bargains UK

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