Real life got in the way of the blog last month, so to get back on track this October I’m kicking off with some global snippets to get you back in the internationalist mood.
With the first half of this decade to be history in just a few short months there’s never been a better time to embrace the global markets.
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The global publishing market is now worth $100 billion, says Jim Bryant as he opens a Bob Dylan-esque post over at Publishing Perspectives about how the global publishing market is reshaping up.
Four key quotes from Jim Bryant’s post (LINK).
“If the digital revolution has had one consequence, it means you need to make your books easily available and discoverable everywhere, always…”
“The transition from local to global is highlighted by the fact that English, Chinese, Spanish and German language eBooks are now available through digital storefronts and libraries in almost every country around the world.”
“Finding potential readers today is easier than it has ever been. It’s getting their attention that matters. In order to succeed to your maximum potential, it is necessary to be available – everywhere and to be discoverable.”
“The global market for books has become decentralized. In a decentralized marketplace, technology and data are the key drivers in building networks that connect readers with the books they may be interested in reading. There is no longer a single point of distribution for books and in fact new points of distribution are opening up around the world every month.”
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One new point of distribution is the Orbile ebook store in Mexico.
The store was due to have launched in September, but for reasons unknown the date is now October 22. Well, better late than never.
As I reported here a month or so back, as Amazon steps up its Mexico Kobo has broken its traditional partner-store mould by bringing together two rival bricks and mortar stores Libreria Porrúa (LINK) and Gandhi (LINK) in one Kobo-supplied ebook store.
From the press release Digital Book World is carrying (LINK) it’s clear this will be a Mexican ebook store, not a Kobo ebook store in Mexico. By which I mean Kobo won’t be just dumping their 4 million title catalogue on Mexican readers, but rather powering and supplying an ebook store curated by Libreria Porrúa and Gandhi to suit Mexican tastes.
In Europe Kobo have a good track record for supporting indie authors in the localized Kobo stores, but I’ve yet to see any evidence that Kobo can influence content curation in the partner stores, within Europe or beyond.
If anyone knows better, do get in touch.
Kobo remains one of the most significant ebook players on the international scene, no matter how poorly it delivers for indies focused on the US market.
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With the Frankfurt Book Fair almost here Publishing Perspectives has released a preview PDF magazine. (LINK)
I commend pages 4 and 6 to your attention as global adventurers, but most of the content is worth checking out.
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HarperCollins is taking the global markets seriously. How about you?
HarperCollins have just announced the formation of HarperCollins Italia, which consolidates the company’s existing interests in Italy and looks at major expansion. (LINK)
And not just in Italy. As the HarperCollins CEO says,
“We’re excited to announce HarperCollins Italia and expand our presence in Europe. This is the next step in our plans to provide our authors with a global, multi-language publishing platform to help them reach the widest possible audience for their work.”
Harlequin Mondadori. a successful, 34-year-old former joint venture with Harlequin Enterprises and Mondadori Libri will now be fully owned by HarperCollins. The new company will continue to publish romance titles under the “iconic” Harmony imprint and will expand its commercial trade publishing with titles from HarperCollins and Harlequin.
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The HarperCollins Italia venture has a strong focus on romance, as above. and as I’ve said many times, romance is a universal genre that easily transcends national borders.
Over in The International Indie Author Facebook group Dutch author Jen Minkman kindly posted this:
It might pay off to get your romance titles translated into Dutch. I’m currently in the Top 100 of bestselling books in the Dutch iTunes store with two titles (under a pen name, so I’m not going to post a link). It’s serialized, it’s got major cliffhangers, nobody’s complaining, and it’s selling like hotcakes.
It helps that I did the books myself, of course, so I don’t have to pay Babelcube anything (or a translator) but I just wanted to say it’s a worthwhile prospect to look into if you’re thinking of getting your books translated into other languages.
I don’t know how the Dutch define selling like hot cakes, but guessing it’s worth having some of. Unfortunately my romance portfolio is looking a bit skimpy right now in every language, but for those here who are sitting on a wad of romance titles…
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China is rushing up to the one–billion mobile internet users benchmark. Not total internet users, just those on mobile devices. And of those, 900 million are using smartphones. (LINK)
Expect that one billion benchmark to come all the swifter now Apple have launched their new iPhone, which broke all records here in the west, selling an incredible fifty devices every second over the first three days.
That’s 3,000 devices every minute. Or 13 million devices in 72 hours.
All the new devices come with the iBooks store as default.
Of course many will be upgrades from existing iPhone users, and many buyers will have no interest in ebooks, or will use an app to access another store.
But by any measure this is a lot of new devices putting the iBooks store in front of a lot of new eyeballs. And Apple has iBooks stores in over fifty countries.
In case you missed it, Apple has just launched an iBooks CN store. (LINK)
It’s been a long while since Apple launched a new iBooks store, and the bad news is, it looks like it’s off limits to publishers outside China unless through a specialist intermediary service, just like Kindle China.
Too soon to say if Fiberead will be able to get western indies in with translated titles, but here’s hoping they can and it will be soon.
On the bright side, it shows Apple are still looking at new ebook outlets, and given their ambitious plans in India it’s now only a matter of time before an iBooks India store materialises.
Just one more example of the global markets shaping up very nicely for those of us taking them seriously.
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Anyone who takes “think about the next five years, not the next five weeks” seriously will have 2020 firmly on their radar.
As we hit 2016 formal 5G trials begin and with the Internet of Things (IoT) about to become a reality of everyday life, not just a plaything for the rich geek crowd, we are going to see some remarkable transformations in how the internet works for us.
Yes, it will impact the way we read and the way we reach readers. Don’t make the mistake of thinking reading – and writing – will somehow be immune to the charms of 5G and the IoT. Savvy authors will be watching closely how best to take advantage of the new opportunities opening up.
And rest assured they will be global opportunities, and perhaps in places you’d least expect, because the internet is no respecter of international boundaries and has no time for antiquated ideas about how some nations don’t read or how other countries are too poor to embrace digital innovation.
As I explored over on the Anne R. Allen blog recently, the countries of the Third World are often simply by-passing completely the painful era of desktop and cable connections and going from no internet to 4G. (LINK) The world is truly globile. That’s global mobile for those of you playing catch up.
Internet speeds are no indicator of interest in reading our ebooks, but they are a great indicator of which countries are likely to take a major leap forward in digital embrace that will enhance our author prospects.
Korea topped the latest survey for global 4G/LTE provision. No surprise there. But there’s a surprise at the top of the list for speed, where New Zealand takes poll position.
It’s easy to get carried away with the notion that the US and other rich western nations will lead the way into the 5G era, but even now, five years from 5G, the evidence suggests otherwise.
Of the top nations able to provide an LTE (4G) signal 100% of the time, six were in Asia, one in Europe (the Netherlands), and perhaps most surprising of all the other was Uruguay. North America and the bigger European nations simply don’t get a look in.
As for speed, not only was New Zealand the leader, but in second and third place came Singapore and, make sure you’re sitting down for this, Romania.
The top networks in the world were Singapore, Romania and Denmark.
All that is neither here nor there for us as authors in our daily lives, but it shows very clearly the way the world is changing, and why I talk about not just a New Renaissance but a global New Renaissance.
A global New Renaissance that will shortly open up the rest of Asia currently on the digital sidelines, bring the Middle East into play as a major digital market and – trust me, I live here – transform Africa’s prospects.
Global (non-US/UK) sales already make up almost 30% of my writing income. By 2020, when the collective global markets will dwarf the US market, I expect it to be well over 50%. Perhaps significantly so.
We have unprecedented opportunities before us as the second half of the second decade of the twenty-first century unfolds.
Don’t let them pass you by.
Think about the next five years, not the next five weeks.