There’s so much happening on the global scene right now it’s hard to keep on top of things. And that’s before the Frankfurt Book Fair kicks off.
To keep you up to speed, here’s another batch of short posts on how the global markets are shaping up.
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Regulars will know how excited I am about the Spanish-language prospects right now. With a half billion Spanish speakers around the world this is a huge market to tap into, and because of the concentration of Spanish speakers in Spain and Latin America it’s also a relatively easy market to tap into.
Two Spanish literary agents have just this past week launched a new venture called The Spanish Bookstage. (LINK)
The more observant will have spotted that’s in English, and so is the site – a reminder as ever that we Anglophone authors have a built in advantage in tackling the global markets even when the markets are in another language.
I’m a big fan of Babelcube – it’s a great way to find translator-partners. But… And it’s a big but… By going through Babelcube you hand over the distribution rights for that language to Babelcube and, at this stage in their game, that can be a frustrating experience, as Babelcube’s distribution leaves much to be desired.
Which is why, while I use translator-aggregators like Babelcube and Fiberead, I also seek translator-partnership arrangements independently. Not least for when opportunities like The Spanish Bookstage come along.
“The new platform,” says Publishing Perspectives (LINK) “comes at a time when the Spanish publishing industry (both in Spain and Latin America) is gaining stronger visibility in the global marketplace.”
While this is the first major platform dedicated to Spanish-language titles, there are plenty of similar operators which savvy indies should be keeping a close eye on that cover the global markets generally. I’ll be taking a close look at some of them as we wind up this year.
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Publishing Perspectives is always a good bet for global publishing insights, and especially so this month with the Frankfurt Book Fair almost upon us.
In an article on Publishing Perspectives few days ago Özkan Özdem offered some very useful insights into the exciting Turkish market. (LINK)
Again, regulars will know Turkey is high on my list of priorities, so I found this post very instructive. You may too.
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Moving on to that headline. Mexico is publishing’s new El Dorado?
Well, so says Diana Hernández Aldana from Turner Libros, a major Spanish-language publisher. (LINK)
Aldana expresses surprise at “the size of the markets in Mexico and Latin America and at their growth.”
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Over at The Digital Reader Nate reports that 3M is out of the library distribution business. (LINK)
From Nate’s post:
3M’s library division has been bought by Bibliotheca, a company that describes itself as “the largest global company dedicated to the development, deployment, and support of self-service library solutions”.
Nate assures us the 3M library distribution will continue without interruption, just under another name. Which hopefully means there will be no interruption to Babelcube’s distribution to what is currently called 3M.
3M supply mainly the US library system, and had ventured into Canada. There was talk of an international network along the lines of OverDrive, but that came to nothing. It remains to be seen what will happen globally.
Meantime be sure to be in OverDrive’s library catalogues. OverDrive have extensive international distribution and with Rakuten now owning them it’s likely they will be expanding further as we hit 2016.
OverDrive library access for your titles can be gained through the pay-as-you-sell aggregators Smashwords or StreetLib . as well as many pay-up-front services.
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Staying with StreetLib, a reminder that StreetLib now gets you into the key Latin American ebook retailer Bajalibros, which has stores across the region, including Brazil.
“In recent years,” opens Publishing Perspectives in a post on opportunities in Brazil (LINK) “while European book markets have remained almost flat or have even declined, the emerging countries are seeing a new chapter of the global business of books emerge in terms of exposure, opportunities and sales.”
Hardly news to regulars here, of course. Brazil has long been on my priority list.
Apparently only 25% of Brazilians have read a book in the past three months.
Plenty of reasons for that. Not least Brazilians being too busy playing on those beautiful beaches, or exploring the Amazon. Or, far more likely, that books have been a) unaffordable and b) unavailable.
But that is changing fast. Very fast.
And anyway, before we dismiss that 25% as too small to bother with, let’s bear in mind that 25% of Brazil’s 200 million population is 50 million.
Liana Suppressa, an Italian rights agent who specializes in children’s and YA titles, says that in Brazil there is a very strong “enthusiasm and openness of publishers and of readers towards international authors,” adding, in Brazil “there’s a growing interest for middle grade and YA titles, both fantasy and contemporary realistic stories.”
Savvy internationalist authors will be looking to partner with Brazilian publishers to get a share of some of that growing enthusiasm, and of course making their own luck by going direct with their digital titles. Amazon, Apple, Kobo and Google Play are in Brazil,.
And not forgetting POD.
Babelcube is a great place to find (with some effort sifting through) some very competent Portuguese translators for both Brazil and mainland Portugal.
And longer term there are prospects for Portuguese translations in countries like Mozambique and Angola. As I’ll be exploring in a dedicated post shortly, Africa is an exciting emerging prospect.
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Speaking of Africa…
As I’ve reported many times, one reason I’m so excited by the global opportunities unfolding is because of the way some cyber-companies are investing in global internet reach.
I summarised the wonderful work of Google (Internet Saathi, Loon, etc) and Facebook’s Aquila project over on the Anne R. Allen blog last month (LINK), and also mentioned satellites.
Both Google and Facebook are investing in satellites, and this post over at VentureBeat this week adds further details of what Facebook have planned for us. (LINK)
Facebook have just partnered with Eutelstat Communications to deploy geostationary satellites that will cover vast expanses of sub-Saharan Africa, starting in 2016.
The five ton Amos-6 satellites, built in Israel, will orbit above Africa (in sync with the Earth’s orbit) and facilitate broadband internet reception across the region, linking to African ISPs and direct to consumers. Crucially working with standard off-the-shelf devices like regular smartphones and tablets. No specialist equipment needed.
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Next, some words from trad-pub industry commentator Mike Shatzkin.
Shatzkin’s posts often get picked up by the indie blogosphere with the intent of ridiculing everything trad pub is doing. Usually with scant regard to the reality that trad pub is doing rather well.
This post from Shatkin covered backlist and export. (LINK)
That’s global sales, to us folk for whom international is a frame of mind, not just an ambition. Of course the indie blogs seized upon Shatkin’s thoughts on backlist and totally ignored his thoughts on export.
Shatzkin reports on an Ingram-hosted conference recently where one US publisher, Diversion Books, had launched its own ebook store app for its romance titles.
Shatzkin reports that Diversion are now seeing almost half – 49% – of English-language sales coming from outside the US, and perhaps most significantly of, 43% of sales coming from outside the US, UK and Canada.
A safe bet that 43% is not all from Australia and New Zealand, and very likely India is playing a significant role. But even so, a substantial portion of those “export” sales will be coming from other markets around the world.
Because they are being made available and buyable.
As I’ve said so many times here, trad pub (big and small) is raking in the cash from the global New Renaissance while most indies are still partying like its 2009, fighting each other for a share of the ever more competitive US market.
Indies can already get very profitable global reach from the mainstream retailers, but there are still vast tracts of the world off-limits by going this route.
Diversion’s ebook store app is one way in which small publishers – and indies –can reach a far bigger audience. And earn more from each transaction. And have access to the customer data.
Direct to consumer sales are something all indies with a decent-sized portfolio need to be looking at as we enter the second half of this decade.
I’ll be exploring this more as we head into 2016.
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Finally, let’s end with the second half of that headline somewhere above.
Yes, Draft2Digital is about to announce a distribution deal with the Spanish subscription service 24Symbols.
24Symbols is a subscription service in Europe that has been happily managing to survive with the subscription model since 2011.
Draft2Digital currently supplies the US subscription services Scribd and Oyster (Oyster will be closing early next year), tas well as the European ebook operator Tolino, the global Page Foundry (Inktera and Versent ebook stores) and the usual suspects Apple, Kobo and Nook.
As best I can see, the new addition will make D2D the only English-language aggregator getting indie titles into 24Symbols (if anyone knows another, do let me know). UPDATE, With great embarrassment I have to admit I somehow missed the fact that StreetLib already supplies 24Symbols. Sorry guys! So Draft2Digital will not be the first or the only. 🙂
And with Smashwords having recently dumped Flipkart, the addition of 24Symbols will make D2D a first-option for ever more indies frustrated by Smashwords’ antiquated system.
I’ll be running a comparison of the main pay-as-you-sell English-language aggregators shortly, looking at the pros and cons of each.
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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.
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