Monthly Archives: April 2015

Where Next For Nook?



When it comes to indecisive it doesn’t get much worse than the management of Barnes & Noble and what they are going to do with Nook.

As of summer 2014 it was definitely being sold off, and summer 2015 was the deadline. (LINK)

As of late February of this year it was definitely being kept. (LINK)

As print sales settle after the early disruption of digital it’s clear retailers like Barnes & Noble, along with the big publishers, are feeling more relaxed and confident than at any time since 2011-12, when one struggled to find an industry blog that wasn’t full of doom and gloom about publishing’s future.

How thing’s change.

There’s a new vibrancy and confidence in the industry as the shake-out’s new landscape becomes clear. Print sales are doing just fine, book stores are thriving. And ebook stores are thriving too.

Yes, there have been casualties. In the ebook field small players like Diesel, that simply couldn’t hack it, and unexpected casualties like the Sony Reader Stores and Tesco’s Blinkbox, both sacrificed because of problems at the parent companies.

And then there’s Nook.

While the Kindle store has probably been profitable for a good few years now (humungous market share in the US and UK, assisted by subsidized ereaders and tablets) Kobo is only expected to break even later this year, and Nook, while seeing its losses dwindle, is still far from profitable in its own right.

But with US market share at around 10%, tucking in behind Apple, Nook still is a significant player, and still has a lot to offer.

Barnes & Noble could, if Nook was such a dead loss as the naysayers would have us believe, simply call it a day, write off the Nook legacy, and move on. There is absolutely no point piling on the losses if there is no knight in shining armour on the horizon to rescue this damsel in distress.

So why hasn’t B&N just called it a day and shut shop?

Our guess is that B&N do see a knight in shining armour on the horizon. One (or one of several) with deep pockets and big ambitions, but not yet in a position to make a move. Perhaps they have already signalled interest. Perhaps B&N are just smart enough to see the way the wind is blowing.

You see, no matter how much we indies (and sadly it is largely we indies – still locked into this arcane us-and-them mentality that sees print publishers and print retailers as the enemy) ridicule Nook, the fact remains that Nook is a close-to-profitable business with a lot to offer a prospective buyer looking to gain a significant foothold in the US digital media market.

Not just a substantial customer base (who wouldn’t want 10% of the massive US market in a single grab?), but the marketing contacts and infrastructure (both US and UK publishers), and the not insignificant global potential.

At one stage Nook was fielding thirty or so international ebook stores, albeit only with a Windows 8 app. But it means they had the contractual infrastructure in place with publishers in those countries.

Nook also has a functional self-publishing portal across several countries and, slightly more controversially, a print and publishing services arrangement with Author Solutions. Plus of course some nominal digital media action beyond the ebook element.

Then there’s the existing range of Nook hardware in readers’ hands and the contractual infrastructure in place with manufacturers to build on same.

All of which collectively amounts to a significant package for a forward thinking, globally-minded, deep-pocketed operator with an eye on the US and international digital media markets.

Who might that be? Here at EBUK we’ve long been warning that the centre of digital gravity is shifting east, and it from the east we feel that Nook’s knight in shining armour will most likely come.

B&N’s management will not be unaware of the manoeuvrings of the big Chinese e-commerce titans as they gear up for global domination. If Alibaba is leading the pack right now, expect Tencent and JD among many to be not far behind.

And then of course there’s Rakuten, across the water in Japan. Any thoughts that Rakuten was regretting its buy-out of Kobo and was writing off ebooks were laid firmly to rest when Rakuten bought out the US and global digital distributor OverDrive earlier this year.

Nooks’ 10% US market share would make a fine addition to Rakuten’s US Kobo and US OverDrive presence, as well as both company’s substantial international reach.

The OverDrive buy-out, along with the plans for Viber, make very clear Rakuten’s vision for a digital future. More on the latter in another post shortly.

B&N’s management will surely be looking at these up-and-coming players – any one of which could buy Nook (and B&N itself) out of pocket change – and see the potential for a lucrative sale down the road if it can just get Nook back on the right path.

Getting by with Nook for another year, as B&N now appear to be intent on doing, may be more sensible than it at first appears.


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The View From The Beach – Mark Williams At Large


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?

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India Briefing. Amazon On Target To Become A Significant Player, But It’s Not The Only Show In Town.


 We’re working on a comprehensive overview of the India ebook market which we’ll be releasing in epub, mobi and PDF formats, but that will be a while yet, so meanwhile here’s a quick summary for those who can’t wait.

India is one of the fastest growing markets for both print books and ebooks, and English-language titles are experiencing renewed interest thanks to the easy access of ebooks on smartphones and to the big strides online retailers are making not just in their online presence but in their delivery capacity. This means that print books are now readily available to avid readers outside the big Indian cities where bricks & mortar bookstores are viable.

Flipkart remains the dominant player for both print and digital books, but Amazon is making vast strides, and lately has resolved many of the issues of accessibility and payments options we’ve previously expressed concerns about. Amazon is now on target to become a significant player in the Indian book and ebook market over the next few years.

Apple still has no iBooks presence in India and Kobo, while there, is not having any impact thanks to some very disappointing partnerships  thus far. Hopefully that will change now Rakuten are beginning to take the global ebook market seriously. Rakuten also has a finger in the India pie through OverDrive, which supplies Infibeam’s ebooks.

Nook of course is not there and nor is Txtr, leaving just Google Play and Magzter to fly the flag for the western ebook players.

Google Play is making big strides, but early days. You can go direct to Google Play or through the Italian aggregator Narcissus or the German aggregator XinXii. We expect Google Play to become significant player in India as they upgrade their payment options.

Magzter is holding its own in India, but is not easily accessible for indies. Those with the British aggregator Ebook Partnership will be there.

Local stores like Crossword (via Kobo) are minor players and Landmark recently closed its ebook store. It’s not clear if that is permanent.

Pothi is a small but friendly operator that will distribute both your ebooks and print titles across the subcontinent.

Of the many other local ebook players two are worth seriously getting involved with right now.

Rockstand and Newshunt.

Newshunt started out as a digital magazine vendor (75 million downloads to date) and took on ebooks about a year and half ago. Back in September last year we reported Newshunt had seen 4 million ebook downloads. Six months on and that figure has almost trebled, to eleven million.

Newshunt is a mobile-only ebooks store that is run by Ver Se. It has seen 50 million app installations, has over 14 million active monthly users and gets over 1.5 billion monthly page views. More importantly it expects to have 200 million active monthly users within two years, as m-commerce takes off in India.

Given India is expected to have 385 million smartphone users by 2017 (more than one for every man, woman, child and baby in the US) that kind of growth is probably conservative.

By 2020…

One of the reasons Newshunt is seeing such tremendous growth is that it offers payment options Amazon and co. do not, namely carrier billing. Newshunt even has its own micro-billing facility, iPayy.

Rockstand is owned by Handygo Technologies, and needless to say it too offers carrier-billing – via three Indian telcos: Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.

As with Newshunt, getting in isn’t easy for indies.

But nor is it hard.

Last year Rockstand signed a deal with Ingram for ebook content, but of course only a handful of indies are in the Ingram ebook catalogue in the first place.

The good news is, both stores WELCOME western indies and if you get in touch with them they will walk you through their direct-upload process.

Better still, Newshunt CEO Virendra Gupta tells us Newshunt will be launching a fully-fledged self-publishing portal later this year. We’re hoping to get an exclusive interview with Virendra on this soon for the EBUK blog.

But enough of ebooks. Let’s talk print books.

No, don’t switch off. Dump the kneejerk reaction that print and indies are somehow different planets and never the twain shall meet. Indies need to take print seriously.

Most indies treat print as an afterthought, but print is BIG business globally and it may surprise you to know that your POD print books actually have even wider distribution than your ebooks.

If you have POD titles through CreateSpace then, if you elected for Expanded distribution (it’s free!) then your paperbacks should be available from Amazon India. (LINK       )

But readers in India can also order them from Amazon’s other India store, Junglee. (LINK)

Or from Flipkart. (LINK)

Or from Landmark.(LINK)

Or from Rediff Books. (LINK)

Or from BookAdda. (LINK)

Or from…

And on and on and on.

CreateSpace distribution. If you have your titles through Ingram, or are using the Indian distributor Pothi you’ll have even better reach (and with Pothi far faster delivery times).

And of course it’s not just in India. We indie authors have global print reach quite inconceivable just a year or two ago. When we talk about a global New Renaissance we mean exactly that. A Global. New. Renaissance.

What is happening is quite unprecedented in human history. Digital isn’t just enabling us to sell digital books, it’s enabling us to reach the far bigger percentage of the world that hasn’t yet embraced digital.

We can’t begin to exaggerate how significant this is.

The internet has been around for many decades now, but for most of the world it was a novelty or a luxury of the rich in a handful of big cities.

You not only needed an unaffordable computer, but you needed reliable electric to run it and for the internet you needed a cable to connect to the ISP and you needed an ISP in your country in the first place.

Suddenly everything has changed. Mobile has transformed the world in ways most of us are not even beginning to come to terms with.

Not just the literally billions who can now e-read. But a sea-change way beyond access to digital content.

Amazon India is an ideal example. Pre-mobile India was just another struggling foreign market for Amazon. Only the rich could afford to buy from Amazon and Amazon could only ship effectively to a handful of big cities.

Now the e-commerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart are investing staggering sums of cash into India’s e-commerce infrastructure. Warehouse, delivery, etc. Because suddenly, in the space of a couple of years. Amazon and Flipkart and all the other e-commerce sites are able to reach hundreds of millions of people previously not on their radar.

And that includes making books – both print and digital – available to literally hundreds of millions of people who previously had no access to such things.

But despite the huge numbers of people now using smartphones to e-read on, print is still king.

Bear in mind that, the US and UK aside, pretty much every country in the world has digital reading adoption at below 10%. The inverse being, 90% or more are still reading print.

And damn and blast, we indies can’t be bothered with print because, well, we’re indies.

Step outside the box. Digital access to print is transforming our prospects not just as ebook authors but as print authors.

Don’t treat your POD endeavours as an afterthought. Make print part of your career strategy. And not just at home, but globally.

We’ve said before and will say again, India, Indonesia and China are the most exciting prospects on the planet right now for indie authors willing to step outside their comfort zone.

The global ebook market is going to dwarf the US market many, many times over as it blossoms, and counter-intuitively the print market is expanding at a rate of knots too. This truly is a global New Renaissance.

As ever, those who get an early foot in the door will have best chance to reap the rewards.

No, there will be no instant successes and no instant rewards.

But think about how hard it is now for new authors to gain traction in the US and UK markets. And how much harder it’s getting, by the day.

The nascent global print and ebook markets aren’t quite open goals, but there are myriad opportunities for savvy authors to become big fish in small ponds overseas. And then to grow to be even bigger fish as the pond gets bigger.

No, it won’t be easy. Yes, it will take time, effort and probably some costs if you really want to make an impact.

So start small. Focus on one country – say, India, since that’s the focus of this post – or maybe two, and get things in place, and then move on to the next. Build a readership base and then move your focus to the next country.

No-one can do it all at once. Don’t try.

But don’t take the path of least resistance. Amazon is a great starting point for India, but make it just that. A starting point.

Amazon can play a key role in your path to becoming a truly global bestselling author, but it won’t do it on its own. Period.

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

 Ebook Bargains UK

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Far more than just the UK.

The Bestselling Books On Amazon Right Now? Colouring Books For Adults. And What We Indies Can Take From This.


We thought this was a late-discovered April 1st post until we checked the date, but it seems that, when it comes to stepping outside the box, there’s plenty of life left in the print sector.

Colouring books for adults (that’s coloring books, for you guys across the pond) are apparently storming the charts (LINK), and we can expect a ton of copycats to follow suit.

For those indies who hide behind the bricks-and-mortar excuse as to why trad pub leaves us standing, it’s worth taking a closer look at this latest phenomenon, because there are two important lessons we can learn from this as we look on enviously at those sales figures.

First, while we’re not sure if it’s even possible to make an ebook that anyone can colour in on screen – if not, we’re sure someone will come up with an app very soon – there’s plenty of scope for indies to get in on the act with POD.

One adult colouring book title alone has sold 1.4 MILLION copies world wide.

What’s significant is how these colouring books are holding their own in the Amazon charts. No, not the ebook charts we indies are glued to, but the overall sales charts we indies shy away from because it’s all trad pub.

Here’s the thing: every ranking title on Amazon’s print chart list has NOT been sold in a bricks and mortar store.

It did NOT get the sale because evil Big Pub paid for the plinth in B&N or Waterstone’s and it did NOT get the sale because evil Big Pub has the unfair advantage of being able to get books in bricks and mortar stores that are off-limits to indies.

We indies really need to ask ourselves WHY our print titles can’t compete in the ON-LINE stores like Amazon, etc, when self-evidently we do pretty well in the ebook stores.

There are lots of reasons, and we’ll come back on this in detail another time, but one reason is simple and self-explanatory. We indies (collectively) spend all our time marketing our ebooks to ebook buyers, rather than marketing our books to readers.  Many indies don’t even bother with a print edition, or treat it as an afterthought. And as for including a link to our print title when we do our promotions… Don’t be silly. We’re indies!

Meanwhile trad pub pretty much owns the ON-LINE print charts because (collectively) indies have this crazy idea that if we can’t get our books into the high-street stores then print isn’t worth making any effort for.

The second thing we can take from this colouring books for adults phenomenon is this: Follow your passion, and be passionate about it.

When these illustrators were creating their colouring books for kids they stepped back, looked at what *they* were passionate about, and instead of just following the sheep ahead, created a colouring book for adults, because it’s what *they* would like to have been able to buy but it didn’t exist.

At worst it catered to a niche and created a small but welcome new income stream. At best, it pretty much created a new genre, and a tsunami of cash for those who got in early and stole the show.

As indies we are not reliant on a publisher to invest in our passions and dreams. If we choose to follow the sheep and chase whatever the latest chart fad is. and only as an ebook, then we have only ourselves to blame when we find the bandwagon is overcrowded and we can’t get a foothold.

Take full advantage of the freedom and the possibilities available now and the new opportunities opening up every day. Don’t carry on as if nothing has changed except the ability to upload ebooks. Embrace the New Renaissance!

Create, write and publish what you are passionate about, no matter how silly, how seemingly non-commercial or how crazy it may seem.

At worst, you’ll feel better for it and will have a new, if trickling, income stream. And at best, you could be driving the next bandwagon instead of chasing after it.

Ebook Bargains UK

Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.

Far more than just the UK.

Think About The Next Five Years, Not the Next Five Weeks. Your Global Reach In 2019 Will Be Truly Phenomenal.


Yes. we’ve been off-line. Sorry! But we’re back, and lots to catch up on, starting with this graphic (LINK) which shows predicted mobile data traffic globally over the next five years. Hard to exaggerate how significant this is.

Right now much of the world is without the internet or running 2G. For most of the world 3G is still a novelty. 4G a luxury.

But based on current trends the take-up of 3G and above internet globally is going to be staggering. And this is based on current day technology. With 5G just around the corner, that 2019 figure could be hugely conservative.

As we start 2015 there are already THREE BILLION people connected to the internet. By 2019…

Mobile is the driver. Back in pre-history when you needed a desktop computer and a monitor and somewhere to plug it all in before you could even think about having a cable to connect to the internet, going online simply wasn’t an option for most of the world.

Today 89 percent of all internet activity in Papua New Guinea is via mobile. It’s 76 percent in Nigeria and 72 percent in India. The same story is unfolding across the globe.

Cheap mobile devices – mainly smartphones – mean that in the not too distant future almost everyone on the planet will have the means to access and read your ebooks, listen to your a-books and podcasts, watch your you-tube videos or consume whatever other digital content you may care to throw out there.

The scale of our potential audience is quite unparalleled in human history, and it’s getting bigger by the day.

Every day more and more people have the means to read and buy your ebooks. If they are there. And if they are buyable.

When it comes to going global, being there is most definitely half the battle. The other half is a lot of hard work with no instant results.

Will it be worth it?

Take another look at that graph. Focus on 2014, because that little stump is EVERYTHING we have today. EVERY ONE of the US and UK and other readers we have collectively accumulated over the past five years is somewhere in that first step.

Every Amazon customer, every Apple customer, every Kobo customer…

Each new step on that graph represents huge numbers of NEW users – many of whom will be reading ebooks, listening to a-books, etc.

Don’t get so wrapped up in the day-to-day sales-watching that you lose sight of the incredible opportunities ahead.

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

Ebook Bargains UK

Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.

Far more than just the UK.