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