With literally half the world now owning a smartphone, it’s never been easier to REACH potential readers. But even if we can get their attention, how can someone pay if they don’t have a bank card?
In the *real* world beyond the rich First World *we* are lucky enough to live, in, on-line micro-payment processors have been busily stepping up to fill the void. A full post on this in early 2016.
Here just to take a quick look at how messaging apps – yes, the ebook promo option most of us indies seem determined to pretend doesn’t exist – is shaping up beyond China.
Within China messaging apps are far more than just messaging apps. Tencent’s WeChat is an entire microverse of internet possibilities within a single app.
And that includes payment processing at all manner of levels, from buying goods and services on line to making peer-to-peer payments from one smartphone to another.
Tencent has big plans to globalise this in 2016, and WeChat is already widely used beyond China.
In South Africa WeChat ZA (ZA is the international country code, not a typo!) is now offering payment options, and crucially users do not need a bank account or bank card to participate. (LINK)
It’s early days and of course no ebook stores are engaged yet, but that will happen, in South Africa and across the globe as Tencent roll out their WeChat mobile wallet more widely.
Where WeChat leads, other messaging apps and other social media – including the mighty Facebook and the once-mighty twitter – are following.
Check out the WeChat blog here. (LINK)
Follow WeChatZA on twitter – @WeChatZA .
And of course WeChatZA is on Facebook. (LINK)
The way payments are made online globally is being transformed, and enfranchising the vast majority of people who do not have bank accounts and bank cards.
Over the next five years not only will pretty much everyone, anywhere on the planet, own an internet-connected smartphone, but everyone will be able to make payments online, regardless of their ability to qualify for a bank account and bank card.
For internationally-minded indie authors it’s hard to exaggerate the potential here.
The global publishing jigsaw is still far from complete, but messaging apps offering payment services are one more piece of that jigsaw puzzle slotting nicely into place.
Indie authors who are using messaging apps to engage with readers globally and to build their brand will be in a very strong position to take advantage of the next generation payments options that are unfolding.
Keep a special eye on Kobo in this respect. Kobo is owned by Japan-based Rakuten, who own not just Kobo but also OverDrive, making Rakuten the biggest ebook distributor in the world in terms of reach.
Rakuten also own the messaging app Viber, and are actively engaging with readers globally through the app. Rakuten’s CEO has openly stated his intent to make Viber a shopping portal and has said clearly that Kobo ebooks will be at the forefront of that development.
Tencent happens to be a major ebook player within China, and is already well ahead of the game.
At some stage I expect Tencent to start looking at ebook sales globally. It can’t have escaped their notice that the big western ebook retailers like Amazon and Apple, powerful as they are, are completely ignoring most of the world. Obsessed with keeping their customer details in-house, they are never going to embrace fully the next generation payment processing options that will enfranchise the world as digital content buyers.
Other players will step in to fill this void, and savvy indie internationalist authors will be positioning ourselves to enjoy the ride.
If Going Global all seems overwhelming right now, don’t worry. It is.
2015 has seen countless threads in the rise of the global publishing market begin to entwine, but for many of us indies the challenge of making sense of it all and knowing where to start, let alone actively engaging, is a daunting one.
And as the Global New Renaissance gets into second gear and the second half of this decades takes us towards 2020 and the Internet of Things era it will get even more overwhelming.
But the rewards for those who can stay ahead of the game…
In 2016 I’ll be putting together some step-by-step guides to Going Global that will pull together all these threads and offer some guidance on how to engage fully with the Global New Renaissance, whether we are just starting out on the global adventure, or are a hardened internationalist and just need to fine-tune our strategies.
The future is globile