Last month, in a post entitled How Much Water Does It Take To Make An Ebook? we took a look at the emerging Middle East ebook market.
So we’re delighted to report anew kid on the block. We heard rumour of this last month, but kudos to The Digital Reader for getting the scoop first.
Fibido.com is the latest ebook store in Iran. Or Persia for those old enough to remember.
Before you ask, we have absolutely no idea at this stage how indies might get their books in there, always supposing the site management wanted indie titles.
But there is an English language section if you look closely. For those who aren’t fluent in Farsi here’s a clue – it says English books. In English. And better still, the drop down menus for categories are in English too.
At the moment all the English-language books appear to be public domain titles, but that’s hopefully just for the launch. We’ll let you know more on that in our special Middle East feature, by when we hope we’ll have heard back from Fibido.
Meantime, do pop along and take a look. Be warned the search engine works from right to left and can be a little disconcerting for those unfamiliar, but you should be able to navigate the English language section easily enough.
On its own, the Iranian Fibido store is just another small addition to the global ebook store line-up, and of no great relevance to us directly. But it is confirmation that nowhere is immune to the charm of ebooks, and plenty more will emerge from this region. Collectively they will make a difference to the savvy authors who can get their ebooks into them.
Of course, it would be great if we could just rely on the usual suspects to get our ebooks everywhere. But we can promise you you won’t be picking up many sales here from Amazon, as Iran is one the many countries blocked from downloading by Amazon.
True, other ebook retailers aren’t serving Iran either. Not Apple, nor Kobo nor Google Play. But no, we haven’t singled out Amazon because we are anti-Amazon. We’ve singled out out Amazon because if you go to your KDP dashboard and go to the World Rights option you get a drop-down list of a ton of countries all over the planet which an author ticks and supposedly gets distributed to.
In reality your ebooks only go to a handful of these countries for the 70% “royalty”, get just 35% elsewhere, and vast tracts of the globe – the Middle East, much of Africa, much of Asia, etc – are blocked from downloading at all. And of course outside the Kindle zones readers in those countries that can download face surcharges for doing so.
Which is why these small regional stores are so important to us. Relying on a handful of big retailers gets you a lot of key places, but it also keeps you out of a whole lot more. If you plan on Going Global In 2014 and having any hope of becoming a truly international bestseller then these micro-stores matter, if only because there are no other options.
Fibido may or may not open up to indies in the near future (if they do it will almost certainly be through a wholesaler), but you can be sure there will be plenty more Middle East ebook stores coming online that will give us the opportunity to reach new readers.
As we like to say here at EBUK, being available is half the battle.