Tag Archives: Bookbaby

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 – http://www2.ciando.com/ – 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 Ebook.it, 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.

Scribd – What It Is And Why You Should be There


The first Scribd results are in for Smashwords, and it’s looking good.

Over at the Smashwords blog Mark Coker reports “It was the largest first-month sales for any new Smashwords retail partner in the last five years.” April figures were even more impressive.

Coker also reports on a Scribd promo dedicated to indie authors. Check out the Smashwords blog for more details.

Not in Scribd? You’re not alone.

Scribd is a fine example of the parallel universes readers and authors inhabit. Many indie authors have never heard of Scribd, and even fewer have given it a second thought a venue to reach readers.

Yet Scribd has over one hundred million registered users globally and gets EIGHTY MILLION unique visitors each month.

No, that’s not typo. Eighty million a month!

No, not all those visitors are looking for ebooks, but many will be and that number will be increasing by the day thanks to the ebook subscription service Scribd offers.


First, some background. Scribd has been around for a while now. It launched in 2007 as a global document sharing platform, and since as long ago as 2009 – the same year Amazon launched the KDP – Scribd has been selling ebooks.

In January 2013 Scribd soft-launched its ebook subscription service as part of its premium content offerings, with an official launch in October 2013. By the end of 2013 the ebook subscription service was one of the biggest of its kind.

Amazon famously lets you borrow a whole ONE ebook a month for free if you are a paid-up Prime member, and that free ebook comes from the limited selection available in Select, which of course will be free at some stage regardless. And of course it excludes all mainstream-published titles.

Scribd lets you pay $8.99 a month and you get to read as much as you like from an impressive range of titles from big name authors. HarperCollins, for example, has put much of their back-catalogue into Scribd.

Why would anyone want to use Scribd instead of buying from Amazon or B&N or Google Play or whatever their favourite retailer is?

The answer is very simple, and why subscription ebook services like Scribd are the new black.

Here’s the thing. When you buy an ebook from Amazon (or any other retailer – I’m using Amazon as an example because it’s the one most indies are familiar with) you don’t actually buy the ebook.

No, seriously. You may think that when you click on “Buy” and the retailer takes money from your account that means you’ve bought an ebook and it’s yours to keep. The reality is rather different.

Never mind that it’s an intangible you can never hold or touch or put on the shelf. You don’t even own the ebook once you’ve paid for it!

What you buy is the licence to read that ebook on a certain range of devices subject to the whim of the retailer. You don’t own the ebook and you never will. You can’t resell it, or even give it away when you’ve finished.

Let’s spell that out clearly, because this is going to impact on your indie author career whether you like it or not.

An ebook you “buy” from a retailer is licensed to you. It’s not yours any more than a library book is yours. Savvy readers understand this and ask themselves why they would want to pay top whack for an ebook when they might be able to get the same title on their device for a token fee from a library or subscription service.


Of course we all know that subscription services and digital libraries are so new – America only invented them last year – that readers don’t even know they exist, so we indies needn’t worry. Just carry on as we are.

But there’s the problem. Readers. The fly in the ointment of all ambitious indie authors. If it wasn’t for pesky readers our lives would be so much simpler. Just load up to KDP and sit back and watch the cash roll in.

The trouble is, readers (who are the ones who actually pay us, remember. Amazon, Nook, Apple et al are just the middlemen in this game) don’t really care about our convenience or well-being. They just want good books at good prices, and they will go to retailers and outlets that suit them, not us.

As more and more subscription services appear, so more and more readers will migrate to them. Scribd saw three million downloads of its Android app in its first month after the official launch in October, and in February this year Scribd lunched a KindleFire app after 100,000 Scribd ebook subscription service users said they wanted to use Scribd on their Amazon device.

Pause briefly to ponder the significance. If you own a KindleFire it’s pretty much a given that you buy your ebooks at Amazon. Not compulsory, but the two tend to go hand in hand. Yet here, in the space of a couple of months, are 100,000 KindleFire owners asking for an app for their device so they can read ebooks from the Scribd subscription service.

Why? Because, as above, you don’t own your ebook from Amazon, so why buy a licence each time you want to read a book if you can pay Scribd $8.99 a month and download as many ebooks as you like?

No, Scribd hasn’t got several million titles to choose from like on Amazon, but the selection is big and growing fast as more and more publishers and authors clamber aboard.

And of course it’s not just Scribd playing havoc with the big retailer’s hopes and aspirations. Oyster currently supplies Apple iTunes and is US only, but will soon have an Android version for all devices and has ambitions on the wider world.

Both Scribd and Oyster are accessible to indies through Smashwords or Bookbaby.

The other subscription services aren’t so indie-friendly right now, but give them time… Entitle face an uphill struggle with some bizarre pricing decisions, but may yet turn their boat around. Epic, the subscription service for children’s ebooks, has recently obtained new funding and will be expanding into Europe later this year. That’s just a few from many US options.

And won’t the Europeans be delighted to finally see some subscription ebook action? That’s the problem being away from the cutting edge of the ebook industry in the US. The rest of the world are just so far behind with this ebook malarkey.

But don’t tell that to 24 Symbols in Spain, Skoobe in Germany, Riidr in Denmark or the many other subscription services around the globe, including in Russia, which many analysts are predicting will be the third biggest ebook market after the US and China before this year is out.

Total Boox in Israel is now sending ebooks to US readers and libraries.

And don’t even mention Nuvem de Livros, an ebook subscription service for Argentina and Brazil that is set to roll out across the rest of Latin America this year. Nuvem de Livros already boasts one million subscribers. If you’re not seeing many sales from Kindle Brazil, Apple Brazil, Google Play Brazil or Kobo’s Brazilian partner store Livraria Cultura in Brazil it may just be that many readers are too busy reading ebooks from Nuvem de Livros or borrowing ebooks from digital libraries instead.

Digital libraries? The other elephant in the room for indies who want to believe a certain well-known US store is the be all and end all of their existence. Because for the same reason that subscription ebook services are taking off – that you will never own the ebook you “buy” – so savvy readers are turning to digital libraries to sate their hunger for ebooks.

Last year North America’s leading supplier of ebooks to libraries in the USA and Canada, OverDrive, saw one hundred million digital downloads. The numbers this year are expected to dwarf that figure. And OverDrive is just one of many options to get your ebooks into digital libraries, not just in the US and Canada but around the world.

Oh, and as an aside Overdrive doesn’t just supply libraries. It will also get your ebooks into key retailers like Books A Million in North America, Kalahari and Exclus1ves in South Africa, Waterstone’s in the UK, and a host of other outlets globally. OverDrive has just this week signed up a deal to take content to and bring content from Japan.

And news just in – Baker & Taylor now supply ebooks to Canadian libraries. Those of you with Smashwords or Bookbaby should see some benefits.

But back to Scribd.

One of the downsides to Scribd is concerns about piracy. Scribd operate a two-tier service and the free file-sharing platform does seem open to abuse, as pretty much anyone can upload anything. The premium platforms – including the ebook subscription service – appear to have resolved this problem. The fact that a major publisher like HarperCollins has signed up with them should reassure those with concerns. Bottom line is, piracy happens. It happens on Amazon, on Kobo, etc. It’s something we have to live with.

But Scribd isn’t sitting back and hoping for the best. They have a new system in place – Book ID – to help keep Scribd a healthy place for authors. Check out the details on Book ID here.

How to get into Scribd? You can go direct, but both Smashwords and Bookbaby now offer you an easy route in. Which is best? Hard to say at this stage as Smashwords titles have just started to get results and Bookbaby is a little behind them.

If you are with Smashwords for the other subscription service Oyster then I would recommend you go to Bookbaby for Scribd. Why?

First, it’s always good to spread the load. Putting all your eggs in one basket is asking for trouble.

Second, Bookbaby has a reputation for quality which Smashwords sadly lacks. Bookbaby requires validated epubs and ISBNs, which means only the more serious indie authors go there, and there are controls over what gets through. Smashwords is a free-for-all load-what-you-like option.

Third, Smashwords also has a reputation as a Triple X porn site, which Bookbaby most definitely has not. As above, Smashwords is a free-for-all load-what-you-like option.

But let’s end on a positive note. Scribd and the other ebook subscription services, along with digital libraries, are going to be major players in the coming years as more and more readers reject the idea of paying for a licence for every ebook they read and pay a token fee to a library or a monthly fee to a subscription service and read all they want.

Whether it’s Scribd, Oyster or some other subscription option, getting your ebooks into the subscription model and the digital library distributors should be your priority.

The readers are already there. Are you?


 Ebook Bargains UK

Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.

Far more than just the UK.

Global Ebook News Round-Up


It’s the weekend, so just a few snippets today from the international ebook scene.

Indonesian Dragon

Lenova is a big name in devices in the Far East. Last month it launched its latest smartphone, the Vibe X. Just one more device readers overseas might be reading your ebooks on.

Of course new devices are hitting the markets pretty much every day. We mention this one because it comes with an exclusive app called Dragon. This is an aggregating news and messaging app that is likely to take off big time across the region.


It comes complete with Google Play Books pre-installed. Google Play is the only international ebook store currently supplying the dynamic Indonesian market.

This app is likely to be distributed across the S.E. Asia region soon. Google Play is the only international ebook store with a significant presence here. Draw your own conclusions.

For further information about the fast-growing Indonesian market, see our post here.

Prime Movies and TV Finally Come to the UK. And Germany.

Here in the UK we’ve been watching the countdown to Amazon UK’s launch of its unlimited video and TV streaming service for Prime members.

Flipkart St valentines

This will bring more eyeballs to Amazon UK and boost KindleFire sales,  which in turn will bring more eyeballs to the Kindle UK store.

Our thanks to The Digital Reader for pointing out the launch is also happening over at Amazon Germany.

This is a long overdue move by Amazon to give KindleFire owners outside the US some of the many benefits Americans get.

Netflix UK has been here a while, but has not done anywhere near as well as in the US, thanks in large part to a rival operation called Blinkbox. Regulars here at the EBUK blog will be familiar with the name Blinkbox. It’s owned by the UK supermarket chain Tesco, the same one about to launch the Tesco Blinkbox Books ebook store. Interesting times ahead.

Fan Fiction

While enjoying the increased options to view, TV and film fans would do well to keep an eye on Amazon’s innovative venture Kindle Worlds, which allows indie authors the chance to write books about selected TV and film shows and get paid for it.

While Kindle Worlds in unquestionably leading the way in opening up commercial fan-fiction to indies, there’s plenty more opportunities on the horizon. More on this soon.

Comic Books and Books of Comics

Archie Comics are bringing out novels featuring their comic characters. The first appears next week, with another due out this summer.


This is nothing new in itself. Marvel and DC among others have been producing novels about their characters and worlds for many a year. These are commissioned works, of course, but as we’ll be showing in a special post next week, there are plenty of opportunities arising for savvy indie authors to get in on the act at a broader level.

Ukraine’s Best-kept Secret

The Digital Reader this past week reported a new a ebook app from Pocketbook, a Ukrainian-based outfit most of us will never have heard of, but that we might want to keep an eye on for future.

We’ll be covering Obreey and it’s partner store LitRes in detail this spring when we take a closer look at the emerging ebook markets in Russia and the CIS.


Google Play is already in Russia and there are strong indications we may see a Kobo Russia and a Kindle Russia store this year, but don’t hold your breath waiting.

Some indies are getting into LitRes, and if you check out the Obreey link above you’ll find it has an English-language version of the store selling English language ebooks. Nothing to get excited over right now, but the Russian / CIS ebook market could yet bring rich rewards.

Meantime, if you do make the effort to get in now you might just find yourself a big fish in a small pond.

Indie Ebook Stores Gifted Cash By Bestselling Author

Back to the USA now, where gazillion-selling author James Patterson has  just handed out cheques to fifty-five indie book stores totalling a quarter of a million dollars, with the plan to give away one million dollars int total. Why? To ensure indie book stores survive the transition from print to digital.

No, there is no stipulation the stores must promote the Patterson books.

Here at EBUK we regularly feature indie bookstores in our Ebook Bargains US newsletter. Many indie book stores now have their own ebook stores complimenting their print books, and pretty much all indie bookstores at least have their own website where you’ll very likely find your PODs for sale.

We’ll be looking at the rise and rise of the indie ebook store in detail soon. None of them are big enough to make a difference to you on their own, but collectively you could be gaining a lucrative new income stream if you are getting your titles into these myriad micro-outlets.

Subscription Audio-Books For Kids

Of course ebooks and POD are just two of many opportunities for indie authors to reach new audiences. Audio-books is another. If you write for children you’ll love this new audio-book subscription service for kids.


As we’ll be exploring in future posts, audio books have reach far beyond the obvious, and audio should be high on the list of priorities for indie authors wanting to go global.

Many ESL (English as Second Language) readers may have learned the language from visiting English-speaking countries or simply from TV, film and radio. They may well having a good understanding of the spoken word but struggle with making sense of the written word. A perfect new audience for your titles if you have audio-versions.

And that’s just one of several opportunities for global audio we’ll be looking at shortly.

Tweet Your Way To Jakarta

Back to Indonesia now, where Indonesian Idol, said country’s very own version of that wonderful / dreadful (delete as appropriate) TV show is allowing viewers to vote for their favourite act with tweets – paid tweets.

As we reported before, Indonesia is the third biggest Facebook country in the world and safe to presume twitter gets  a fair bit of use there too.

The aggregator and ebook services provider Bookbaby has a free PDF download called Twitter For Authors In Ten Minutes A Day which, if you’re not comfortable using twitter may be worth grabbing.

We know some authors are doing well using twitter to reach readers globally. Ditto Facebook, Google+ and all the other SMP options. We’ll be looking more closely soon at how you can use SMP to boost international sales in the most unlikely of places.

Bookbaby have been in the news this week due to a new promotion-partnership with two key reader-focussed websites, Goodreads and NoiseTrade. You can of course sign-up with both Goodreads and NoiseTrade quite independently of Bookbaby.

Bookbaby offers some great free-at-upload distribution options, including Copia and eSentral which most other aggregators haven’t got covered.

Retailer Round-Up

No retailer round-up today as this is just a snippets post. Retailer Round-Up will be back with our next Feature  posting.

Ebook Bargains UK

Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.

Far more than just the UK.

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of… Ebook Sales!


It’s that time of year again. The winter holiday season, when people swap sunglasses, skimpy bikinis and Bermudas for sunglasses and colourful skiing outfits and head for the snow-covered higher ground. In Europe they’ll be heading for exotic destinations like the Austrian and Swiss Alps.


In the olden days that meant packing a ton of books in your luggage so you had something to read while laid up in hospital with a leg in plaster after some unintended acrobatics. Nowadays it’s just a matter of remembering to pre-load your ereader or tablet app before you go. Because as we all know, once you step outside the US and UK ebooks are as hard to come by as juicy t-bone steaks at a vegetarian butcher’s convention.

English-language books abroad? When will these foreigners learn to speak English? Not only would it make our lives easier when we invade their ski slopes and beaches, but we might sell some of our books to them too.


Austria may not be the first country that springs to mind when you think about getting sales for your English titles abroad, but with an estimated six million English speakers – more than New Zealand! – Austria should definitely be on your list.

If you are with Apple your titles will be there in the Apple Austria store. Then there’s Google Play Austria and Nook Austria (albeit only for Windows 8 at the moment), and not forgetting ‘txtr Austria. There’s even a Sony Austria Reader Store.

And then of course there’s Kindle Austria. Oh no. Strike that. Amazon thinks Germans and Austrians all look the same so Austrian readers wanting to buy your books from Amazon have to get their Kindle ebooks from neighbouring Germany.

In similar vein Belgians (also six million English speakers) have to sign up with Kindle France, and New Zealanders (four million English speakers, since you ask) have now officially been designated Australians by Amazon and get redirected to the Kindle Australia store. In ZonSpeak New Zealanders have been “assigned” to Kindle Australia.

To add insult to injury Australians and New Zealanders are now expected to pay more for your ebooks than when they shopped at Amazon US. If you have titles listed at US$ 2.99 on AmCom you’ll find that on Kindle Australia they are now selling at AU$ 3.99 (or more) for Australian, New Zealand and other Oceania buyers. Titles set at US$2.99 on AmCom before the AU site came into being have been automatically upgraded to $3.99. And no, US$ 2.99 does not equate to AU$ 3.99. New Zealanders and Australians now have to pay roughly an extra half dollar for your ebooks.

Why is that Apple, Google Play and even ‘txtr can give New Zealanders, Belgians and Austrians their own ebook store in their local currency, but Amazon can’t?

In Switzerland (five million English speakers) Amazon kindly lets Swiss readers sign up with either Kindle France or Kindle Germany. Very nice. We all like choices. But ‘txtr, Google Play, et al have their own Swiss ebook stores where readers can pay in the local Swiss currency (Swiss francs in case you were wondering). Here’s the txtr Switzerland site – a fine example of glocalization.

We can add Ireland to the list. ‘Txtr, Apple and Google Play all have dedicated Ireland ebook stores. Kobo are there with Eason. They list in the Irish currency – the euro. But Irish readers (four million) who want to buy from Amazon have to sign up with Amazon UK, and pay in a foreign currency – the British pound. Or sign up with Amazon US and pay in a foreign currency – the US dollar.

Some of you in the US and UK will be thinking, “Big deal. Amazon is the only place that matters, so readers will ignore the rabble.”

Well ask yourselves this: If Amazon decided that from tomorrow you will have to shop at Kindle Mexico or Kindle France, and pay in Mexican pesos or French euros, would Amazon still be so appealing? Or would you maybe look at another store that doesn’t treat you as a second class customer?

The problem seems to be that, far from leading the way forward with ebooks, Amazon is still hung up on the old world of print distribution, where geography actually mattered. While digital-only operators can embrace fully the opportunities offered by ebooks, Amazon thinks first and foremost about the print titles it sells, and the Kindle sites are built around those constraints.

Which is why ‘txtr, Kobo, Google Play and Apple can manage to treat New Zealand and Australia as the two totally separate and independent nations they are (don’t be misled by a glance at the world map – Australia and New Zealand are a three-hour flight apart!) while Amazon lumps them together as a single unit for its own convenience.

Still not bothered? You should be.

The problem for us as indies is that, increasingly, readers will turn to “glocalized” stores like Google Play and ‘txtr that make the effort to be local to readers where the readers are.

Yes, Amazon will still attract many new customers. But the early-adopter phase has past.

Indies need to understand that the Amazon honeymoon is over.


As writers we naturally gravitate towards Amazon. It was our first choice as authors, and probably our first choice as e-readers. And back in the day it was pretty much the only show in town.

No more.

Indies must be clear that readers who aren’t writers have no misty-eyed attachment to the Kindle store. It’s just one of myriad places they can buy ebooks and e-reading devices. Yes, Amazon is a great site. Famously “the everything store”.

But outside the US Amazon is not the “everything store” that it to Americans. Not by a long shot.

Visit the satellite Amazon sites and take a look around. At first glance it all looks the same bar the language/currency. But take a closer look.

Things Americans take for granted like Prime, one-click and gifting, for example, are not available on every Kindle site.

Likewise most items Amazon sells that draws so much traffic to Amazon US in the first place are not available on other Amazon sites. Just look at the drop-down menu of categories. On Amazon US there are nearly forty categories. The Amazon India store has just eleven. Amazon Brazil has two. Amazon Mexico has one.

If there’s an Amazon site and a Kindle store and easy access to Kindle devices where readers live then yes, Amazon will still be the first choice for many new readers taking their first, tentative steps into digital reading.

AMAZON IS AN ESSENTIAL PLACE TO BE. Don’t misconstrue anything here as anti-Amazon.

But here’s the thing. In countries where Amazon surcharges or blocks downloads completely – which is most of the world – Amazon is not going to be the first port of call for readers going digital. They will be buying elsewhere – not just from high-profile global players like Apple and Google Play, but from retailers you’ve probably never heard of, and while some will be reading on familiar Kindles, iPads and Samsung Galaxy tablets, many others will be reading on devices you probably never knew existed, through apps you probably never knew existed, buying from stores you probably never knew existed.

Try going to Amazon’s very own India site and looking at the range of tablets available to buyers in India. Yes, you’ll see the KindleFire and the Samsung Galaxy and the Google Nexus and all the usual suspects. But you’ll also see the Lenova Ideatab, the Xolo QC800, the iBall Slide, the Ambrane D77, or…

And this is just a small selection from a very limited choice available on Amazon India. Try a dedicated India tech gadgets site to see a ton more. Or wait a week or so and we’ll be running a detailed post on just how many alternatives there are to the devices you know and love.

No, you’ve never heard of them. But there’s the thing. You don’t live in that vast expanse of the planet known as The Rest Of The World.

Most of the world’s population do.

But let’s get back to Austria.


Amazon has neither an Amazon Austria site nor a Kindle Austria site. Amazingly this doesn’t stop Austrians shopping online.

With no Kindle Austria site, many Austrians will be looking to buy their ebooks from one of Austria’s biggest online stores, Donauland. There are plenty of others they can choose from.

The Kindle is readily available in Austria, but Donauland customers may well be reading on a Tolino Shine e-reader or a Tolino tablet, which are sold across the continent but especially popular in Austria, Germany and central Europe. If you live in the US, UK, Canada, Australia or New Zealand you’ve probably never heard of the Tolino Shine or the Cybook Odyssey, ot the ‘txtr Beagle or the Archos range but Europeans have.

We are repeatedly asked how do indies get into all these “new” stores

For those wanting to get their titles into Donauland and the Tolino Alliance stores in Germany – see below – you’ll need to be in the wholesaler catalogues, either directly or through an aggregator. Sorry, but Smashwords, D2D and Bookbaby won’t get you there. We know for sure that the aggregator Ebook Partnership can get you into Donauland and the Tolino Alliance. There are n doubt other options., If anyone knows any, do let us know.

We also mentioned ‘txtr and Google Play above. Smashwords apparently has a distribution agreement pending with ‘txtr, but at the moment neither Smashwords, D2D nor Bookbaby will get you into the eighteen ‘txtr stores, nor the forty-four Google Play stores.

Depending on where you live you may be able to go direct to Google Play, but it’s not straight-forward. Not wishing to over-stress one aggregator at the expense of another, but Ebook Partnership will get you in to both ‘txtr and Google Play.

A full report on English-language aggregators and where they can (and cannot) get you will be appearing here in the near future. But for now, back to Donauland again.

Donauland is part of the Austrian arm of the German Tolino Alliance group, which devastated Amazon’s market share in Germany in 2013.


In Germany local ebook stores and local devices took Amazon down from almost 90% market share to a little over 50%. Yes, Amazon is still by far the biggest single player in Germany, but collectively the competition is making Amazon’s eyes water. And the competition is just beginning.

We’ll look at the Tolino Alliance in detail in a forthcoming post. Here just to say this is market fragmentation in action. And it’s happening everywhere, not just in Germany.


Global ebook sales are increasing at a phenomenal rate. There’s a huge, untapped market out there that is growing by the day, and will dwarf the US market in the not too distant future.

China is already the second biggest ebook market in the world. It will almost certainly take the number one spot this year. Russia is racing up from behind. Other countries are in hot pursuit. Many of these countries – China and Russia among them – haven’t got Kindle stores (although there is an Amazon China store).

Let’s be clear. This phenomenal growth in China and Russia is not being driven by Amazon. And nor is the growth in most of the world.

It’s the same story across Europe, Latin America and Asia. While Amazon is busy surcharging readers and making life difficult with its cumbersome payment options, it’s slavish adherence to print-world geography, etc, other platforms are soaking up customers like there’s no tomorrow.

Not just the bigger international players like Apple, Google Play, Kobo and ‘txtr, who understand glocalization, but all importantly the wholesalers like OverDrive, Copia, Ingram, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, et al, who supply libraries and retailers across the globe (OverDrive alone has some 24,000 outets), and who are past masters at glocalization.

In far off Thailand the local ebook store Ookbee was adding 6000 customers a day even way back in early 2013, and was expanding into Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. That growth may be stifled right now because of political issues in Thailand, which will also be holding back Google Play’s and eSentral’s traction there.

Malaysia -based eSentral supplies ebooks to Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand among others. Google Play now has extensive reach in the region – everywhere from Hong Kong and Macau to Singapore. While Amazon is blocking downloads to countries like Singapore other retailers are gaining traction.

And it’s the same story across six of the seven continents.

Maybe all seven.

You’ll find Antarctica listed in the KDP dashboard as one of the places you are assigning Amazon rights to distribute to, and Simon & Schuster claim to have actually sold an ebook in Antarctica, but generally its best to take the Amazon KDP list of countries with a pinch of salt. Despite inviting you to tick the box, many of these countries are actually blocked from downloading by Amazon.

Be under no illusion. Wonderful as Amazon is, eager readers around the world are not sitting back drumming their fingers, patiently waiting for Jeff Bezos to grace them with a Kindle store. They are busy buying ebooks elsewhere, including from stores you’ve probably never heard of, and reading on devices you’ve probably never heard of.

They could be buying and reading your ebooks. But only if they are available.

When a reader in a distant land hears about your wonderful novel and finds it isn’t available from their preferred retailer where they iive then they’re not going to open up  a new account somewhere else just for you. They’ll buy some other author’s book instead.

Being there is half the battle. Go Global In 2014.

Ebook Bargains UK

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