Tag Archives: Kobo ebooks

Messaging Apps Are The Next Big Thing For Savvy Indie Authors Looking To Stay Ahead Of The Game.

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While most indie authors continue to look the other way as messaging apps become the new black for selling digital goods, the Japan-based messaging app LINE has just launched its second music streaming service in as many months. (LINK)

Hard on the heels of the Thailand launch last month, LINE now has digital music streaming available in Japan, and other countries will be joining the, ahem, line-up later this year.

With Rakuten preparing to relaunch the messaging app Viber as a global sales platform for Rakuten products this year, we indies all need to sit up and take notice of the way the winds are blowing.

We can be forgiven for being unfamiliar. The so-called social media experts and mavens continue to tout Facebook and twitter as the only entities that matter for ebook marketing. Far easier to keep recycling the same old mantra than look at what’s coming next.

Without naming names, one social media maven famously told us MySpace was here to stay and that new cowboy outfit Facebook was just some fly-by-night rival that had no future. This was the same social media maven who told us reading ebooks on phones was a fad peculiar to Japan and was never going to catch on.

Meantime savvy authors are using sites like Pinterest and Instagram to great effect to find new audiences.

And the super-savvy amongst us will be getting established on the messaging apps.

Make no mistake, messaging apps are the next big thing for promotion and sales. Rakuten have made very clear their plans for Viber, and in particular they have spelled out their intention to sell Kobo ebooks using the Viber messaging app.

With LINE leading the way offering music streaming, others will follow. And just how long do you think it will be before other digital goods – ebooks, for example – are streamed on the messaging apps too?

Viber will be leading the way with messaging app ebook sales, and the rest will surely follow.

Meanwhile us indies are still busily carrying on as if Facebook and twitter are the be all and end all of social media promotion.

Wake up and smell the coffee!

Check out our past posts on this subject on the EBUK blog. Here’s one. (LINK) Several more in the archives.

Mobile messaging apps are the next big thing in global ebook promotion. Don’t wait for the social media mavens to wake up and jump on the bandwagon. Explore the world of messaging apps now and lay the foundations for your global ebook promotion empire.

Here’s the top ten social media messaging apps:

WhatsApp
Viber
WeChat
LINE
Kakao Talk
Kik
Tango
Nimbus
Hike
MessageMe

There are many others.

Never heard of them? We need to step outside our box. WhatsApp alone has over 800 million monthly users. Just because they are not on our radar does not mean no-one else has heard of them.

Nimbuzz has 25 million users in India, one of the key up-and-coming ebook markets.

Viber has over 300 million subscribers.

We all know how few of our Facebook friends and twitter followers actually get to see our posts and tweets. And we all know the services are clamping down still further to force us to pay to reach people, especially if there’s a promo link involved.

Instead of playing the same tune over and over to the same handful of people who actually do see our Facebook posts and do see our tweets, most of whom couldn’t care less, why not spend just a tiny fraction of that time and energy reaching out to new audiences in new ways.

Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram… LINE, WhatsApp, Viber…

Yeah, new learning curves, new ways to interact, new demands on our precious time.

But if we want to stay ahead of the game we need to stay ahead of the trends.

Just like, not to very long ago, we all had to sign up with and learn how to use Facebook and twitter and our blogs. Oh, and that crazy new thing called KDP that allowed us to bypass the query system and actually publish our books as ebooks.

Yes, we can all scream “Gimmick! Gimmick! Gimmick!” and pretend it’s not happening. But it’s happening anyway.

Don’t worry. The social media mavens will be along in a year or two to say they saw the messaging apps coming but were biding their time before letting anyone know.

Meanwhile everyday folk, you know, like readers, are busily signing up to messaging apps not by the hundreds, or thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, but by the billion. WhatsApp and Viber alone have a billion subscribers between them.

Just this week twitter announced it is expanding its character quota as it recognizes messaging apps are where people are heading. (LINK) Facebook of course famously already owns WhatsApp.

And no, before someone says it, no-one can do them all. Don’t even think about it. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try at least a few.

Think about the next five years, not the next five weeks.

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Note: We’ll be following up this post with some specifics about getting started with messaging apps in the next few days. Stay tuned!

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What Are The Top Five Countries For Romance Ebook Sales?

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We all know romance is a very, very popular genre and many ebooks authors are doing exceptionally well, but we also know most only focus their attention on two countries – the US and UK – and of course therefore only see results from two countries.

We’ve been arguing a long time now that the global market is worth the effort, but very few indies are taking this seriously. We ran a post here back in February stressing the significance of the Indian market for romance writers. Again, it fell on largely deaf ears.

This week there emerged some new data that shows how wrong you are to be ignoring the wider world.

What are the top five countries for romance ebooks? Obviously the US and UK take poll positions.

But in third, fourth and fifth place in order are…drum roll please…India, Australia and South Africa.

And the stores are worth looking at. Obviously it goes without saying Amazon is top, and Apple and Nook close behind. But this report from Epub Direct also cites the following stores as performing well with romance titles.

Quote:

Other sales channels that are quite virile are ebooks.com, Flipkart, Kobo, Sainsbury, Txtr, Asia Books, Fishpond and Libri.

Unquote.

For the UK, read W H Smith for Kobo, and for Australia Angus & Robertson and Bookworld.

Ebooks.com is an Australian store (the oldest ebook store still going in fact!) that sells in US dollars. Supplied via Ingram.

Sainsbury is off limits to indies, but make no mistake Sainsbury (and lately Tesco – too early for any stats for Blinkbox) are doing very well.

Txtr gets a mention. Remember Txtr has twenty global stores, and you can be sure most of Txtr’s sales are not coming from the Txtr US and Txtr UK sites… Txtr are not in India, which means Txtr sales will be coming from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and mainland Europe. If you are with Smashwords or Ebook Partnership you will be in the Txtr stores.

Flipkart is well up there, of course. See our Valentine’s post to understand why Indians love western romances.

Then there’s small players like Libri, Asia Books and Fishpond that indies just love to write off as a waste of time.

Of course Epub Direct, who compiled this report, supply a ton of other retailers too. In fact they have the best reach of any distributor, including getting titles into the key UK stores WH Smith, Sainsbury and Tesco Blinkbox, all off limits to indies.

No, Epub Direct don’t deal with indies (logistical, not philosophical – they are not anti-indie, just not set up to cater for individuals) but what they don’t know about ebook distribution and selling probably isn’t worth knowing.

If you are with a publisher make sure they know about Epub Direct and (if they are big enough) demand they sign up. For the rest of us… Well, for now they are off limits, but we’re hoping someone from Epub Direct will come and share with us their thoughts on how things migt pan out in the future.

Meanwhile, a few other key points from this report:

Subscription services are performing well for romance. Ditto for libraries except for erotica, where many libraries filter titles or – as with OverDrive and Smashwords – simply don’t want to know.

Romance titles see less blockbusters so the market is far more evenly spread and self-pubbers have a better chance of getting in. Look at any best-seller chart where indies are to see this is true.

Romance titles do well in series and are less affected by seasonal buying, so a good year round bet.

Nor is it just India. Michael Tamblyn, Kobo’s president said this week “For e-book retailers like us, it has helped Romance become a huge part of our business.” As we all know, Kobo is not amajor player in the US, so these sales are coming from elsewhere.

But to finish this post a reminder- India is the third biggest market for English language romance titles according to one of the world’s biggest ebook distributors. And no, you don’t need to write about Indian characters in Indian settings to appeal to Indian readers, as we said in the EBUK post in February, and as the new Epub Direct report shows.

 

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