I’d expect this to test three things:
- As Kobo and Amazon compete in Germany and push greater awareness of their deices, will the greater availability of devices that will create drive ebook uptake
- Fixed pricing means that self published books will have a huge pricing advantage if the authors chose to use it. Will self published ebooks begin to gain more purchase in Germany because of that?
- Now that you can reach German consumers on multiple platforms digitally, will there be more translation of foreign language texts into German for digital sale?
There’s more of course, but those are the ones that interest me.
Kobo—and presumably Amazon—chose to expand to Germany first because the German book market is the second-largest in the world, after the U.S. E-books are still gaining traction there and in the rest of Europe, and “it’s a market where local experience matters,” Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis told us. “Creating a locally merchandised offering with local recommendations was key.” He said Kobo employees have been working with German publishers to add titles to the store for over six months. The company is also in discussions with German retailers and booksellers and will soon announce local partners. Book prices in Germany are fixed, with all e-book prices set by publishers.
Kobo is simultaneously launching German-language iOS and Android apps, and will launch its German-language E-Reader Touch in August, for €149. $208.23/£131.51 An international version of the Kindle, which costs €139, $194.25/£122.69 is available in Germany and other countries, but it has English-language menus and an English keyboard.
via Kobo Launches Germany’s Largest E-Bookstore, Beating Out Amazon | paidContent.
First off, don’t get TOO excited. The figures are very impressive, but they carry some health warnings the three biggest:
- Ebook sales are undifferentiated whereas print sales are segmented
- Thess are self reported and not the whole market
- These may still be seeing post-Christmas loading by new ereading consumers
That said, the market is clearly growing VERY quickly still. Read the whole release from the AAP here.
Sales of e-books in February tripled over the previous year to $90.3m, the Association of American Publishers reported, exceeding adult paperback sales of $81.2m.
A 169 per cent surge in e-book revenues since the start of the year contrasted with a 24.8 per cent decline in print book sales to $442m over the two-month period. February figures showed steeper declines in some print categories, with adult hardcover sales falling 43 per cent to $46.2m and mass-market paperbacks down 41.5 per cent at $29.3m.
via FT.com / Media – E-books overtake US paperbacks.
I’ve been struck by how many booksellers are doing well by selling ebook readers. A casual comment hit me over the weekend when someone mentioned that the falling prices of non-branded ereaders was impacting overall revenues. That goes to show the value of owning the device as well as the channel to sell content on the device. On the other hand, it must be painful for bookshop staff to be selling devices that will ultimately close the majority of bookstores!
E-book-news.de recently reported that Thalia’s e-reader, the Oyo sold unexpectedly well in stores, not online. People wanted to touch and try out the readers. But once those Oyo readers are in use, their sales will be exclusively online, and it’s hard to imagine their e-books won’t cut into store sales you don’t have to go to a Thalia store to pick up your online purchase, which cuts out an important opportunity to buy stationary and a toy!, or that a more e-reader-educated generation might not be comfortable buying the readers online in the first place.
via Why Multichannel Bookselling is the Future | Publishing Perspectives.
Nice post from Philip here. Personally I think the physical retail presence and access to HEAVY BOOK BUYERS and BROWSERS via that retail presence is the key to Barnes & Noble’s success with the Nook.
It’s an odd story in a way but it reinforces the idea that one of the key weapons in the future of the industry is knowing the customer OR having access to them directly. The three winners in the ebook space right now, Apple, Amazon and Barnes & Noble all have either huge databases of customer information or direct access to them in places where they part with their money, we shouldn’t miss that when thinking about this today.
Many people wrote off the Nook when it first launched in the US. The name was a bit, well, odd. It had a funny colour strip that didn’t serve much use, except to show book jackets. The e-books available weren’t cheap enough, when compared to Amazon’s overly aggressive pricing. And it had initial shipping problems, a sure-fire technology killer. It was seen as the last gasp of a dying mammal washed ashore by a particularly arch digital wave.
We neglected to look at the two key advantages it had over the Kindle. There was the innovative sharing function, which Amazon has now copied, that gave users a sense of having purchased something tangible—not just a license to read. And of course the ability to read any book for free in one of the chain’s 700 shops, making a physical connection to the shops via digital. The latter gave it something Amazon could never have.
via Waterstone’s needs to find its Nook | FutureBook.
A great and well thought out response to the hyped news that reading on the ipad and kindle has been shown to be slower!
Carrying an iPad or Kindle, I can read many things in many formats, all on the same device. I may read marginally more slowly for extended passages, but I’ll probably do more reading overall on one of these devices, especially if I’m traveling, busy, or shifting settings. Having recently spent a vacation outside the US, the Kindle’s international delivery of books allowed me to purchase two new books while traveling — books I never would have found locally. I read more because of this. I could acquire these books without adding to my luggage. I paid less than for physical books. Does the fact upset me that, on average, I might read 100 e-pages while you read 110 in print? Good luck keeping up with me if I’m reading while you’re out shopping in a foreign country for an English-language book — or waiting for your printed book to ship.
via Measuring Reading Speed on E-Readers Teaches Us That Speed Isn’t Usability « The Scholarly Kitchen.