Category Archives: New Zealand ebooks

800,000 Ebooks Downloaded From Digital Libraries In New Zealand in 2013. How Many Were Yours?

Go Global In 2014

When we said back in January that digital libraries an subscription services were the new black and we should all be climbing on board, the suggestion fell on largely deaf ears.

Hey, don’t worry. We’re used to it!

And while the news that US and Canadian libraries had seen 100 million digital downloads through OverDrive was met with surprise, most indies didn’t see it as relevant to their lives, because most indies were not in OverDrive.

That changed this year when Smashwords fixed a deal to get indie titles into OverDrive’s library catalogue. True, there were more than few problems along the way not least when OverDrive appeared to shunt all Smashwords titles into a ghetto zone only viewable by librarians – there are today over 150,000 indie titles showing in the OverDrive public catalogue through Smashwords.

Along with a good many through forward-thinking aggregators like Ebook Partnership, who have been supplying OverDrive much longer.

New Zealand, a small country with a small population (less than 5m) saw 800,000 ebooks loaned from its digital libraries in 2013, through OverDrive and the local library distributor Wheelers. (LINK)

That was before Smashwords got indie books in, but even before that many indies had been seeing increased library traffic year on year from digital libraries, including those Australia and New Zealand, for several years.

Safe to say the 2014 figures for digital libraries in New Zealand and everywhere else will be significantly higher. And for 2015…

As we said back in January, digital libraries and subscription services are the new black. (LINK)

KU aside, that remains true.

But just like in any other outlet, while being there is half the battle, getting discovered is in large part down to you.

Find your links in OverDrive (LINK) and let people know. Tweet and FB to readers in Australia, New Zealand, etc, etc, that they can borrow your books from their local library.

We are the luckiest generation of authors ever to have lived. We have opportunities to reach global audiences quite unimaginable ten… even five… years ago.

A report just out values the global ebook market at $14.5 billion. (LINK)

OverDrive is one such portal to the world. Thanks to Smashwords it’s easier than ever to be there, and at no up-front cost.

Make no mistake, digital libraries ARE the new black, and OverDrive is the single biggest supplier of global digital content.

And there are plenty of other ways for indies to access the that $14.5bn global ebook market.

Not there? Your loss, because the readers are.

Ebook Bargains UK

Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.

Far more than just the UK.

300+ Global Ebook Outlets? It’s As Easy As One-Two-FREE!

Go Global In 2014

We all know the ebook market is going global. But for most indie authors it seems we’re still partying like it’s 2009. Many of us are still exclusive with one store, or in so few other outlets that we may as well be.

Meanwhile that international ebook market just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

So just how many global ebook stores can we indie authors get our ebooks into without taking out a second mortgage and busting a blood vessel?

How does over 300 sound?


 Amazon has eleven Kindle sites, but readers in Ireland, Belgium, Monaco, St. Marino, Switzerland, Austria and New Zealand can buy from neighbouring Kindle stores without surcharges, as can South Africans. So effectively nineteen outlets covered there.

NB In theory many other countries (by no means all – over half the world is blocked totally) can buy from AmCom, but sending readers to Amazon US only to be surcharged will reflect badly on the author, as readers won’t know that the $2+ surcharge (even on “free” ebooks!) goes to Amazon, not to you. For that reason we’re counting just the above-mentioned countries for Amazon.

f you are with Apple you can add another 51 countries to the list. Apple is the second largest ebook distributor by dedicated-country reach. Extensive coverage of North America, Latin America and Europe. Not so hot in Asia or Africa.

Nook is kind of in limbo right now. Apart from the US Barnes & Noble store and Nook UK (a reminder: it’s NOT called B&N in the UK) there are another thirty or so countries served by Nook with a Windows 8 app.

At some stage they will all become fully fledged stores, maybe, but for now, let’s discount those and just add the two key Nook stores to the list.

19 Amazon stores, 51 Apple stores and 2 Nook stores means you already have easy access to 72 global ebook stores.

If you are with Kobo then in theory you’ll be in the localized Kobo stores in US, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Africa, India, UK, Netherlands, Germany, France… You’ll be in Kobo partner stores like Bookworld, Collins, Angus & Robertson and Pages & Pages in Australia, in PaperPlus in New Zealand, in National Book Store in the Philippines, in Crossword in India, in Indigo in Canada, in Fnac in France and Portugal, in Mondadori in Italy, in Livraria Cultura in Brazil, and probably a few more that aren’t springing to mind right now.

Okay, so twenty-two more retail outlets right there, taking you up to 92.

Then there’s the Indiebound stores. Indiebound is a Kobo partner project whereby bricks and mortar indie stores have a Kobo ebook store integrated with their website. As an example, checkout Poor Richard’s in Kentucky. Or The Velveteen Rabbit Bookshop & Guest House in Wisconsin. Or Octavia Books in New Orleans.

We haven’t done a full appraisal of all of the Indiebound stores yet (soon!), but there are well over FOUR HUNDRED b&m indie bookstores selling ebooks via Kobo. Some just send you to the main Kobo store. Others have a fully integrated ebook store as part of their website.

We discount the first lot here and just include those with an integrated Kobo store. Let’s play safe and say there are, very conservatively, just 50 integrated Indiebound stores with your ebooks in (more likely well over 200!).

Suddenly we’re looking at 142 retailers with your ebooks in.

If you are in ‘txtr that’s another twenty stores right now, and with six more in Latin America about to open.

162 global retail stores.

If you are with Smashwords then as well as ‘txtr you ought to also be in Blio and Versent, and in the Indian megastore Flipkart.

Bookbaby will also get you into Blio and Flipkart, and if you are with Bookbaby you can be in eSentral. E-Sentral is based in Malaysia but also has stores in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and Brunei.

Bookbaby will also get you into Ciando, one of the key retail outlets in Germany. And as per this link – – the Ciando ebook store in Germany is in English!

For those who haven’t been keeping count that’s 173 global ebook retailers.

Throw in All-Romance and OmniLit, which is free-access, to make that 175.

American and British indies often don’t look beyond Smashwords and D2D, and maybe Bookbaby, totally ignoring the free-access aggregators in Europe like Xin-Xii and Narcissus. We do so at our peril.

Xin-Xii will get you into the seven key Tolino Alliance stores (Hugendubel, Weltbild, Thalia, etc) that devastated Amazon market share last year. Essential places to be if you want to make it in Germany.

But Xin-Xii will also get you into Donauland in Austria, Casa del Libro in Spain, Family Christian in the US, Otto in Germany, and Libris in the Netherlands. It will also get you in the ebook stores of the mobile phone operators O2 and Vodafone.

Lost count yet? We’re talking 189 global ebook stores already.

So let’s see if Narcissus can push us over that 200 mark. Narcissus is based in Italy, and little known outside, but it a gem of an aggregator.

Quite apart from many of the stores already covered above, Narcissus will also get you in Ultima, in LaFeltrinelli, in IBS, in Net-Ebook, in Libreria Rizzoli, in Cubolibri, in Book Republic, in Ebookizzati, in DEAStore, in Webster, in MrEbook, in, inLibrisalsus, in Libreria Fantasy, in The First Club, in Omnia Buk, in Il Giardino Dei Libri, in CentoAutori, in Excalibooks, in Hoepli, in San Paolo Store, in Libramente, in Ebook Gratis, in Libreria Ebook, in Byblon Store, in Libreria Pour Femme, as well as numerous specialist and academic stores. Narcissus also distribute to Nokia. Yes, as in the phone company. Ebooks are still widely read on Feature phones, and Nokia leads the way.

But just those 26 examples from Narcissus take us to 215 global ebook stores.

And then there’s Google Play. You can go direct to Google Play or free (pay as you sell) through Narcissus.

Google Play have 57 global ebook stores (and more on the way).

Which takes us up to 272 ebook stores. And counting.

On top of this we can add the ebook subscription services like Oyster (US only) and Scribd (global), accessible through Bookbaby, Smashwords and (in the case of Scribd) D2D.

Then there’s digital libraries. Even leaving aside the as yet unresolved mess that is the Smashwords-OverDrive saga, indies with Smashwords or Bookbaby may be in libraries through Baker & Taylor.

Bookbaby also distribute to the wholesale catalogues Copia and Gardners, which supply libraries and also a ton more retail stores over and above those listed above.

Throw in the Copia and Gardners outlets and we EASILY cross the 300 retailer mark.

Remember, ALL these are accessible free of charge (you pay a percentage per sale).

There are other options, like Vook. IngramSpark and Ebook Partnership, which would substantially add to this list, but these options either have up-front costs or offer a very poor percentage return for free-access.

But worth noting that players like Ebook Partnership can get you not just into the OverDrive catalogue, which means an appearance in key stores like Books-A-Million, Waterstone’s, Infibeam, Kalahari and Exclus1ves, as well as the myriad OverDrive library partners, but also other key up and coming outlets like Magzter, like Bookmate in Russia, and so on and so on.


 The global ebook market is growing by the day. There are huge new markets opening up in Latin America, in India, in China, and across SE Asia right now that most indies are not a part of.

In the near future Africa will take a big leap forward as retailers make ebooks accessible to the hundreds of millions of Africans currently locked out of our cozy ebook world.

Make no mistake. The global ebook market will dwarf the US ebook market many, many, many times over as it gains momentum.

No, there won’t be many overnight successes, yes it will take time, and yes it will require a good few hours of effort to make sure you are in all these stores in the first place.

Sorry. There are no magic wands to wave. No just-add-water instant solutions.

No pain, no gain.

But you only have to upload to these stores once, and a handful of aggregators can do most of them for you in a couple of rounds, planting the seeds for future harvests. Then you just need to pop back now and again to tend the garden. It’s a one-off effort now that will pay back over a life-time as these global markets take off.

That list of 300+ stores above is just going to grow and grow and GROW as market fragmentation and international expansion gather momentum. The global ebook market has barely left the starting line!

The savvy indie author thinks about the next five years, not the next five days. Don’t get lost in the minutiae of your every-day ebook life and miss the bigger picture here.

Because we are all privileged to be part of something that is way, way bigger than just selling our books. We are witnessing – participating in – the early stages of a New Renaissance quite unparalleled in human history.

A New Renaissance on a global scale that will not just make accessible existing art forms to every single person on the planet, but will create new art forms as yet unknown, but in which we can be sure writers will play a key role.

Be part of it.

Around The World in 80 Ebook Stores 2 – PaperPlus


New Zealand is a small country with an even smaller population It clocks up less than five million people, only a tiny fraction of whom will be reading ebooks. On the other hand it’s a key English-speaking market, so has the attention of the key western ebook players.

Until recently New Zealand was one of a handful of non-Kindle countries that were allowed to buy from Kindle US without surcharges. Late last year that position was entrenched when New Zealanders were unilaterally “assigned” (Amazon’s term) to Kindle Australia, although at this stage it seems they can opt to buy from either Kindle US or Kindle Australia.

Apple of course has long provided New Zealanders with their own iBooks store, and New Zealanders can also choose to buy from the Berlin-based ‘txtr New Zealand store and Google Play New Zealand. Other options include Fishpond (a significant online regional player across Oceania but not really taking ebooks seriously) and of course the international stores like Smashwords, AllRomance/OmniLit, Diesel, Blio, the Australian based EbooksCom, etc.

paperplus logo

While there are no sensible, let alone reliable, figures our guess is that while many will be buying from Amazon, many more New Zealanders are taking the patriotic option and buying from local stores like Whitcoulls and PaperPlus. Kobo saw a 40% increase in sales last year and safe to presume the New Zealand and Australian partner stores were key players in that surge.

Both the Kobo New Zealand partner stores are local book/stationary chains so have good domestic brand recognition (the biggest problem facing rival ‘txtr).

We’ll look more closely at Whitcoulls another time. Here just to say both partner stores carry Kobo titles at (99% of the time) identical prices, but your titles appearing in one does not mean they will be in the other.

PaperPlus was declared Music / Book Store Of The Year 2013, which is both good and bad for us indies. Good in that the store obviously is liked by the locals, and good that by stocking a variety of products it will attract people to the store who may not have planned on buying a book but might just end up with a couple in their shopping kart.

The downside to that is books, let alone, ebooks, are not the store’s primary focus. That said, from what we’ve seen they obviously are book-lovers. Ebooks? At the moment ebooks are still a sideshow, but as ereading widens and the PaperPlus management adjust their priorities so will the scope of the PaperPlus ebook store to deliver for authors.

That might be a while off. At the moment a cursory inspection of the PaperPlus site gives no indication whatsoever that they sell ebooks. Only when you search for a book title does, if available, an ebook selection come up, and only then do you find its a Kobo-supplied ebook.

For those who know PaperPlus does sell ebooks, albeit behind closed doors, finding the title they want still poses challenges.

The default search engine category is stationary – forget to select the books category and you will get a null result. The search parameters are strict. A simple typo will deliver null results, so type carefully! Often title and author together will bring zero results but if you put in one or the other the title will come up. And some days nothing will show in the search results even though you can see the book is available when you go by direct link.

Whether these are faults at the PaperPlus end, at the Kobo end, or a simple issue of integration is unclear. What is clear is it’s rather unhelpful for readers wanting to buy and authors wanting to sell. If you are with Kobo and all your titles are showing in PaperPlus then congratulations. Sadly for a large number of authors that isn’t the case.

And it gets worse.

Here at EBUK we run several different titles through several different Kobo partner stores every day, checking price and availability, and – sorry, Kobo, there’s no polite way of putting this other than to exclude the expletive – it’s a nightmare.

Not just PaperPlus, but pretty much all the partner stores exhibit the same pattern. An author may have a series of five titles and Books 2 and 4 might be there but the others not. An author’s flagship title may not be available, while lesser titles are. For authors with just one or two titles to their credit it can be the difference between having a presence in store and not being available at all.

When we say unavailable we mean either not there at all, or listed as “Not In Stock”, with blank rectangles where the tiles were once available but no longer are. And not through any choice of the authors, who are more than a little annoyed at this mess.

When indies contact PaperPlus (or any other partner store) they are told they can only list what Kobo sends them. When authors ask Kobo they are told the partner store chooses what gets in.

Who to believe? Sorry, Kobo, but as one (unnamed) partner store told us, “Why on earth would we want to stock random titles in a series and not all of them? It’s a bad experience for the reader and reflects badly on us.”


This situation has always been with us, but got dramatically worse following the W H Smith UK porn scandal last year, when Kobo was found to be distributing wholly unsavoury titles to its partner stores. Both W H Smith UK and Whitcoulls NZ closed shop while Kobo cleaned up the mess. Whitcoulls relented and let indie titles back in afterwards, subject to Kobo’s scrutiny. W H Smith took the opportunity to ban indies outright.

At that time Kobo pretty much removed all indie titles from all partner stores and has since been filtering them back in with varying degrees of inefficiency. Obviously it’s impossible to check every title individually so Kobo use a clunky and very unhelpful software system to decide what gets back in and what doesn’t. The resulting mess we see now, where totally innocuous titles are caught up in the Kobo net and prevented from reaching partner stores, is quite unacceptable.

This isn’t happening to trad-pubbed titles and, much as we’d like to think otherwise, it’s clear indies are not high on the list of Kobo’s priorities right now.

If you go to PaperPlus or any other Kobo partner store and find all is not rosy, do contact the store direct and get their take on the situation. It may be something they can resolve.

But if they can’t sort the problem, don’t shoot the retailer! The whole point of having Kobo handle their ebook store is so the retailer doesn’t have to.

Check out as many of the Kobo partner stores as you can, identify which titles are an issue in which stores, and tell Kobo. If Kobo tell you it’s the partner store that is to blame (Kobo’s default response, it seems) send Kobo’s email direct to the partner store and see what they say. When the partner store writes back saying it’s still Kobo’s problem, send that response back to Kobo. Nine times out of ten the issue will miraculously be resolved.

For all their faults Kobo are an essential place to be for any indie wanting global reach. Don’t give up on Kobo. But don’t stand for second-class treatment just because you’re an indie author.

Retailer Round-Up

Needless to   you need to be in Kobo to have any chance of appearing in the Kobo partner stores. Kobo is best approached direct through Kobo Writing Life, which will give you maximum control over your titles, subject to Kobo’s whim. Alternatively pretty much any aggregator will get you in.

Ebook Bargains UK

Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.

Far more than just the UK.