Indonesia is a nation spread over an archipelago of more than ten thousand islands. Yet somehow Indonesian publishers manage to sell books, are doing rather well now and expected to do very well in the near future.
Indonesia is one of the seven key countries featured at the Frankfurt Book Fair global markets focus this year, as well as being the Fair’s Guest of Honour.
Regulars will know I’ve been waxing lyrical about the prospects in Indonesia for a year or two now. Like India and China and a handful of other countries ,Indonesia has been a priority focus for me.
Because besides having the fourth largest population in the world, Indonesia is very engaged with the digital world. And the very factor that has hampered traditional publishing in Indonesia – being an archipelago of well over 10,000- islands – means Indonesia is the ideal place to sell ebooks.
So long as there is an internet connection available.
Oh, and a retailer.
The good news is, Indonesia is a hotbed of cyber-activity, and with a young population (over 80% of Indonesians are under 30) internet interaction is big. Seriously big.
The Indonesian capital Jakarta is twitter’s busiest city anywhere in the world. Indonesia is a major Facebook country (and helpfully 20% of Indonesian Facebook interaction is in English) and sees major activity with other social media, especially messaging apps.
As smartphone penetration increases so will Indonesia’s prospects as a market for digital products such as ebooks.
The bad news is, Amazon blocks downloads to Indonesia and there’s no iBooks Indonesia store (although Apple is huge in Indonesia, so it will come).
In August of this year Bookmate signed a deal with IndoSat to launch the Bookmate Cipika-Books brand, (LINK)
Bookmate currently has some 2.5 million users around the world.
eSentral will get you into a number of SE Asian countries otherwise difficult to access, but let’s stick with Indonesia.
No, neither Smashwords nor Draft2Digital will get you into Bookmate. Nor Google Play. Nor eSentral.
But StreetLib (LINK) – will get you into both Google Play and Bookmate.
PublishDirect (LINK) – will get you into Google Play and eSentral.
For the record, pay-up-front aggregators like Bookbaby, eBook Partnership and Vearsa also get you into these stores, but the focus here is on pay-as-you-sell sell options.
Then there are the regional operators (including eSentral, which is based in Malaysia). Another key regional player is Thailand-based Ookbee.
Indonesia-based Scoop (LINK) is a regional player and leads the way in expanding its service out of Indonesia.
Currently no western aggregators are dealing with Ookbee or Scoop.
StreetLib, PublishDirect, et al, if you’re reading this, please take a look at Scoop and Ookbee!
NulisBuku was one of the pioneer self-publishing platforms in Indonesia and has a great website. (LINK)
For western indies it’s important to appreciate that, while it seems as if the West is leading the way and the rest of the world has to wait until Amazon’s KDP or Smashwords or another easy-load option arrives, the reality is self-publishing is taking off all over the world without them.
Those of us who sit back and wait until Smashwords or D2D finally realise there is a global New Renaissance unfolding are going to find ourselves entering an overcrowded market if and when we finally do take the plunge.
NulisBuku may have been the first, but bigger players are now in the Indonesian self-publishing game. Gramediana, for example, which is part of the huge Indonesia media outfit Kompas Gramedia
And you’ll be delighted to know that Gramediana have an English-language site. (LINK)
Indonesia, like China and India, is not going to make any western indies superstars overnight, but for any indie author looking to be a truly international bestselling author these three countries should be not just on your radar, but on your Invest Time & Energy In Now list.
Sow the seeds now for future harvests.
Think about the next five years, not the next five weeks.