The global publishing market is now worth $100 billion, and other global snippets for indie internationalist authors.

Real life got in the way of the blog last month, so to get back on track this October I’m kicking off with some global snippets to get you back in the internationalist mood.

With the first half of this decade to be history in just a few short months there’s never been a better time to embrace the global markets.

@ @ @

The global publishing market is now worth $100 billion, says Jim Bryant as he opens a Bob Dylan-esque post over at Publishing Perspectives about how the global publishing market is reshaping up.

Four key quotes from Jim Bryant’s post (LINK).

“If the digital revolution has had one consequence, it means you need to make your books easily available and discoverable everywhere, always…”

“The transition from local to global is highlighted by the fact that English, Chinese, Spanish and German language eBooks are now available through digital storefronts and libraries in almost every country around the world.”

“Finding potential readers today is easier than it has ever been. It’s getting their attention that matters. In order to succeed to your maximum potential, it is necessary to be available – everywhere and to be discoverable.”

“The global market for books has become decentralized. In a decentralized marketplace, technology and data are the key drivers in building networks that connect readers with the books they may be interested in reading. There is no longer a single point of distribution for books and in fact new points of distribution are opening up around the world every month.”

@ @ @

One new point of distribution is the Orbile ebook store in Mexico.

The store was due to have launched in September, but for reasons unknown the date is now October 22. Well, better late than never.

As I reported here a month or so back, as Amazon steps up its Mexico Kobo has broken its traditional partner-store mould by bringing together two rival bricks and mortar stores Libreria Porrúa (LINK) and Gandhi (LINK)  in one Kobo-supplied ebook store.

From the press release Digital Book World is carrying (LINK)  it’s clear this will be a Mexican ebook store, not a Kobo ebook store in Mexico. By which I mean Kobo won’t be just dumping their 4 million title catalogue on Mexican readers, but rather powering and supplying an ebook store curated by Libreria Porrúa and Gandhi to suit Mexican tastes.

In Europe Kobo have a good track record for supporting indie authors in the localized Kobo stores, but I’ve yet to see any evidence that Kobo can influence content curation in the partner stores, within Europe or beyond.

If anyone knows better, do get in touch.

Kobo remains one of the most significant ebook players on the international scene, no matter how poorly it delivers for indies focused on the US market.

@ @ @

With the Frankfurt Book Fair almost here Publishing Perspectives has released a preview PDF magazine. (LINK)

I commend pages 4 and 6 to your attention as global adventurers, but most of the content is worth checking out.

@ @ @

HarperCollins is taking the global markets seriously. How about you?

HarperCollins have just announced the formation of HarperCollins Italia, which consolidates the company’s existing interests in Italy and looks at major expansion. (LINK)

And not just in Italy. As the HarperCollins CEO says,

“We’re excited to announce HarperCollins Italia and expand our presence in Europe. This is the next step in our plans to provide our authors with a global, multi-language publishing platform to help them reach the widest possible audience for their work.”

Harlequin Mondadori. a successful, 34-year-old former joint venture with Harlequin Enterprises and Mondadori Libri will now be fully owned by HarperCollins. The new company will continue to publish romance titles under the “iconic” Harmony imprint and will expand its commercial trade publishing with titles from HarperCollins and Harlequin.

@ @ @

The HarperCollins Italia venture has a strong focus on romance, as above. and as I’ve said many times, romance is a universal genre that easily transcends national borders.

Over in The International Indie Author Facebook group Dutch author Jen Minkman kindly posted this:

It might pay off to get your romance titles translated into Dutch. I’m currently in the Top 100 of bestselling books in the Dutch iTunes store with two titles (under a pen name, so I’m not going to post a link). It’s serialized, it’s got major cliffhangers, nobody’s complaining, and it’s selling like hotcakes.

It helps that I did the books myself, of course, so I don’t have to pay Babelcube anything (or a translator) but I just wanted to say it’s a worthwhile prospect to look into if you’re thinking of getting your books translated into other languages.

I don’t know how the Dutch define selling like hot cakes, but guessing it’s worth having some of. Unfortunately my romance portfolio is looking a bit skimpy right now in every language, but for those here who are sitting on a wad of romance titles…

@ @ @

China is rushing up to the one–billion mobile internet users benchmark. Not total internet users, just those on mobile devices. And of those, 900 million are using smartphones. (LINK)

Expect that one billion benchmark to come all the swifter now Apple have launched their new iPhone, which broke all records here in the west, selling an incredible fifty devices every second over the first three days.

That’s 3,000 devices every minute. Or 13 million devices in 72 hours.

All the new devices come with the iBooks store as default.

Of course many will be upgrades from existing iPhone users, and many buyers will have no interest in ebooks, or will use an app to access another store.

But by any measure this is a lot of new devices putting the iBooks store in front of a lot of new eyeballs. And Apple has iBooks stores in over fifty countries.

Including China.

In case you missed it, Apple has just launched an iBooks CN store. (LINK)

It’s been a long while since Apple launched a new iBooks store, and the bad news is, it looks like it’s off limits to publishers outside China unless through a specialist intermediary service, just like Kindle China.

Too soon to say if Fiberead will be able to get western indies in with translated titles, but here’s hoping they can and it will be soon.

On the bright side, it shows Apple are still looking at new ebook outlets, and given their ambitious plans in India it’s now only a matter of time before an iBooks India store materialises.

Just one more example of the global markets shaping up very nicely for those of us taking them seriously.

@ @ @

Anyone who takes “think about the next five years, not the next five weeks” seriously will have 2020 firmly on their radar.

As we hit 2016 formal 5G trials begin and with the Internet of Things (IoT) about to become a reality of everyday life, not just a plaything for the rich geek crowd, we are going to see some remarkable transformations in how the internet works for us.

Yes, it will impact the way we read and the way we reach readers. Don’t make the mistake of thinking reading – and writing – will somehow be immune to the charms of 5G and the IoT.  Savvy authors will be watching closely how best to take advantage of the new opportunities opening up.

And rest assured they will be global opportunities, and perhaps in places you’d least expect, because the internet is no respecter of international boundaries and has no time for antiquated ideas about how some nations don’t read or how other countries are too poor to embrace digital innovation.

As I explored over on the Anne R. Allen blog recently, the countries of the Third World are often simply by-passing completely the painful era of desktop and cable connections and going from no internet to 4G. (LINK) The world is truly globile. That’s global mobile for those of you playing catch up.

Internet speeds are no indicator of interest in reading our ebooks, but they are a great indicator of which countries are likely to take a major leap forward in digital embrace that will enhance our author prospects.

Korea topped the latest survey for global 4G/LTE provision. No surprise there. But there’s a surprise at the top of the list for speed, where New Zealand takes poll position.

It’s easy to get carried away with the notion that the US and other rich western nations will lead the way into the 5G era, but even now, five years from 5G, the evidence suggests otherwise.

Of the top nations able to provide an LTE (4G) signal 100% of the time, six were in Asia, one in Europe (the Netherlands), and perhaps most surprising of all the other was Uruguay. North America and the bigger European nations simply don’t get a look in.

As for speed, not only was New Zealand the leader, but in second and third place came Singapore and, make sure you’re sitting down for this, Romania.

The top networks in the world were Singapore, Romania and Denmark.

All that is neither here nor there for us as authors in our daily lives, but it shows very clearly the way the world is changing, and why I talk about not just a New Renaissance but a global New Renaissance.

A global New Renaissance that will shortly open up the rest of Asia currently on the digital sidelines, bring the Middle East into play as a major digital market and – trust me, I live here – transform Africa’s prospects.

Global (non-US/UK) sales already make up almost 30% of my writing income. By 2020, when the collective global markets will dwarf the US market, I expect it to be well over 50%. Perhaps significantly so.

We have unprecedented opportunities before us as the second half of the second decade of the twenty-first century unfolds.

Don’t let them pass you by.

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

Flipkart Prepares To Shutter Its Ebook Store. Hands Amazon Control Of The India Ebook Market.

The writing has been on the wall for a while now, and the latest move by Smashwords didn’t help. Nor did Amazon’s launch of Kindle Unlimited India at a heavily subsidized price.

This week Flipkart formally announced the company ebook store’s future is under review, and there’s really no reason to expect it to end favourably.

Last month Smashwords withdrew 200,000 titles from Flipkart because “Flipkart determined their systems are not yet capable of supporting the dynamic nature of the Smashwords catalog.”

In plain English, Flipkart is not running a business model based on the interests of indie authors who want to jump in and out of Select at a moment’s notice. Smashwords is.

Barely was that announcement live than Amazon stepped up with the Kindle Unlimited India launch at a price no-one in their right mind could ignore. Almost certainly it saw a dramatic fall in Flipkart ebook downloads.

The thing is, while Flipkart has deep pockets, a multinational like Amazon has deeper still.

When Amazon launched in India a few years ago Flipkart was the undisputed king of online retail, with 80% of the online retail market (all goods, not just ebooks). Fast forward 2015 and Flipkart has just 44%. Snapdeal 32% and Amazon 15%.

Just this month it was announced India now has more people connected to the internet than the USA has people. By end 2017 it is projected India will have a half billion people online.

And while many will be reading ebooks, digital downloads form one very small part of Flipkart’s business.It intends – and needs – to focus elsewhere.

Last month Snapdeal declared its intention to dethrone Flipkart as the king of Indian retail. Flipkart faces an uphill struggle to stay at the top. Meanwhile Amazon has transformed its India game across the board, including ebooks.

Snapdeal doesn’t do ebooks, and while the withdrawal of Flipkart would leave a gap in the supply chain, I can’t see Snapdeal jumping in. They have bigger fish to fry.

A half billion Indians online by end 2017.

No wonder Amazon is throwing money at the India store like there’s no tomorrow. And, unlike in the first year when Amazon totally failed to glocalize, you just have to admire the way they are rising to the challenge now. And Amazon is big enough to play the ebook scene at a loss for the forseeeable future,  while still investing in the bigger picture.

Where does this leave the Indian ebook scene? Heavily balanced in Amazon’s favour.

There is no Apple iBooks store in India, and of course no Nook store. Kobo has a token presence (the partner stores are irrelevant). Google Play is there, and may yet emerge as the main western challenger to the Kindle store. The other western player is the digi-magazine store Magzter, which also sells ebooks.

Among the local players Landmark stopped selling ebooks over a year ago and Infibeam is like a fart in a colander, not knowing which hole to go out of.

There are two significant local players left – both app-based and pandering to the mobile readers. Rockstand and Newshunt.

Both have seen impressive growth and both are worthy challengers to the Kindle store. But they don’t have the deep pockets of Amazon to put up a fight against Kindle India.

Western indie authors can get into Rockstand and Newshunt direct, but it’s a convoluted process. The Indian aggregator Kartindo (LINK) will get you in as part of their paid package. But what we really need is a forward-thinking western aggregator like Italy’s StreetLib (LINK) to set up in India. Not likely in the near future as their focus is clearly on Latin America right now.

That said, Rakuten-owned Kobo could yet surprise us all, make a bid for the Flipkart customer data, and start taking India seriously.

Or even formally partner with Flipkart to handle the Flipkart ebook store, leaving Flipkart to focus on its core business.

But until that happens it looks like an open goal for Amazon in the India ebook market.

For daily news, clues and views on the global ebook scene, join the official Facebook Group The International Indie Author. (LINK)

StreetLib Does It Again! This Time Its BajaLibros!

Hard on the heels of the announcement that StreetLib had added OverDrive libraries to their distribution options, commencing September 15 (LINK), the Italy-based aggregator has announced distribution to Argentina-based BajaLibros starts on September 21.

BajaLibros is the largest ebook distributor in Latin America (LINK) and the third largest Spanish ebook store in the USA. It’s also in Spain (LINK).

StreetLib also get your titles into other key domestic Latin America stores like Librerias Gandhi, El Sotano, Nubleer and PeruBookstore.

And StreetLib get you into Google Play, who have ebook stores across Latin America – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.

StreetLib also get you into Apple which has iBooks stores in several Latin American countries, and in Kobo, which partners with the key Brazilian store Livraria Cultura, and has a new partnership starting this month with Mexico’s two biggest bookstores (LINK).

With the BajaLibros distribution deal StreetLib could be said to have Latin America well and truly covered. No other aggregator comes close!

Not that there’s much to choose from them, but here’s the BajaLibros Uruguay store (LINK) and here’s BajaLibros in Mexico (LINK), and Chile (LINK), and Colombia (LINK), and of course Argentina (LINK).

BajaLibros has been selling ebooks in Latin America since 2010. As well as the above stores BajaLibros also has ebook stores in Brazil, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela, not to mention Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

There’s a common misconception that Latin Americans don’t read. But that’s more to do with availability than anything else. The Buenos Aries Book Fair this year had over 1.2 million visitors (LINK)

Thanks to smartphone proliferation ebooks are available across the continent, no matter how far you live from a bookstore.

To understand why I’m so excited by this new move by StreetLib check out past posts, as here, for example (LINK).

Last month I reported, courtesy of The Digital Reader (LINK) that Tigo Mobile has a carrier-billing agreement with the Russian ebook subscription service Bookmate to deliver books to readers in Guatemala and Paraguay.

Not just another pertinent Latin America story but a double whammy for StreetLib, because StreetLib is the only no-upfront-fees aggregator to get indie titles into the Bookmate catalogue.

But don’t think that’s good enough to keep The International Indie Author happy, StreetLib! :-)

When will we see StreetLib titles going into Grammata’s Argentina, Mexico and Colombia and Spain stores?

And what about Movistar? Or Amabook? Here’s Amabook in Chile. (LINK). Amabook have nine store including the USA and Spain. Or Saraiva in Brazil? (LINK)

Given StreetLib have an office in Mexico and a Latin America manager, Viviana Paredes Estapé, who has been quoted as saying Latin America “is ripe with opportunities”, (LINK) I’m guessing it won’t be long.

For some reason they don’t speak much English in Latin America, so Spanish and Portuguese translations should be on the minds of anyone contemplating the Latin American market. All my titles are being translated into both languages.

But many indies will be using Babelcube for translations, and Babelcube don’t have much of a distribution network in Latin America.

So StreetLib (LINK) and Babelcube (LINK), if you’re reading this, how about you two get together and make our Spanish and Portuguese translations really worthwhile?

For more hot news on the way the global ebook scene is shaping up join  The International Author Facebook Group. (LINK)

“Excellent Performance In Latin America And Double-Digit Growth In Ebook Sales” Says Penguin Random House. How Seriously Are You Taking The Latin American Ebook Scene?

The Guadalajara International Book Fair in Mexico is fast approaching. It’s the biggest Spanish-language book fair in the world, and this year its bigger than ever.

Edward Nawotka at Publishing Perspectives reports that the Guadalajara Rights Center – a meeting place for publishers to exchange foreign-language rights – has sold out its 125 table several months in advance, a sure sign of trad pub’s growing interest in the region. (LINK)

Trad pub understands the global New Renaissance, and is preparing to rake in the cash from it.

Remember how the Indie Old Guard used to tell us trad pub were just rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic? Penguin Random House (PRH) this month reported parent company Bertelsmann has seen its highest revenues since 2007 thanks in large part to PRH’s expanded global reach. (LINK).

PRH reported “excellent performance in Latin America and double-digit growth in e-book sales (that) more than offset the ongoing challenges in the Spanish book market,”

The Latin-American market is getting VERY exciting and anyone not thinking about Spanish translations right now is crazy.

For indie authors one of the biggest problems has been distribution in Latin America. Amazon has stores in Mexico and Brazil, but the rest of Latin America is surcharged by Amazon. Apple, Google Play and Kobo are there however, In fact, as reported here (LINK) there’s a new ebook megastore, Orbile, opening in Mexico this month, and Kobo is handling its ebooks.

But there are are also countless “local” ebook retailers in Latin America. And it’s not terribly difficult to get into them.

No, Smashwords and Draft2Digital won’t get you into the domestic Latin American retailers, but at least one English-language aggregator is taking Latin America seriously. And that’s StreetLib (LINK). A full report on

accessing Latin America soon.

Meantime, if you haven’t yet dipped your toes into the translation waters check out these two posts (LINK) and (LINK) on how to get started.

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

For daily news and discussion about the global indie publishing scene checkout ot this lively Facebook Group.


Sorry, Smashwords. There’s Now An *Easier* Way To Get Into The OverDrive Libraries.

In a new blow to both US-based pay-as-you-sell aggregator Smashwords and UK-based pay-up-front aggregator Ebook Partnership, there’s now another way into the OverDrive global library catalogue.

Italy-based aggregator StreetLib will from September 15 be delivering Streetlib titles to OverDrive’s 33,000 partner libraries across 50 countries.

With Flipkart gone, the OverDrive libraries distribution option was one of the few reasons left to be putting titles into Smashwords.

But last month I spent far too much time trying to upload titles to Smashwords only to see them rejected straight away, sat waiting days to be approved (the exact same title would be selling on Apple in hours through Draft2Digital) or rejected days later after review. Titles with validated epubs that Smashwords rejects, yet that somehow manage to sail through Draft2Digital and into the exact same stores Smashwords says won’t accept them.

I’ve yet to have a title rejected by StreetLib

For OverDrive library access I’ll be loading all my new titles via StreetLib. I have to use them anyway to get them into Google Play (no direct access to Google Play from here even when the portal is working) which neither Smashwords nor Draft2Digital supply.

StreetLib also get you into myriad other stores Smashwords and Draft2Digital are not supplying.

Stores like El Corte Ingles in Spain, for example. Here’s one of my titles in ECI through StreetLib. (LINK)

StreetLib also gets your titles into the fast-growing global subscription service Bookmate.

Check out the StreetLib self-pub portal here. (LINK)

If you have your own epubs it’s free to upload.

And it’s in English, despite being Italian, Unlike Smashwords and Draft2Digi9tal StreetLib understands not everyone speaks English and so the site has eight language options, making it very easy to navigate.

Make sure StreetLib is part of your going global upload routine.

The International Indie Author Is Now On Facebook

It’s probably a bank holiday where you are right now, so the briefest of posts to mention the formal launch of The International Indie Author’s Facebook Group.

This weekend yet another broadband satellite went into orbit. Launched from Kazakhstan and serving (from the end of the year) the Pacific region, it’s a reminder of how truly globile (global mobile) our world is becoming.

So no better time to be climbing on board the international indie author crusade.

For those interested you can find the Facebook Group here (LINK).

It’s a public group and open to any and all to join and contribute to. If you have any useful experiences of going global, or spot any pertinent news stories about the global publishing market, do share.

But please, no book promo. Only include a link to your book if making  a point about, or contributing a post about , the global publishing markets.

Which basically means that big wide world beyond the US-UK axis that most indies focus on.

English-language titles selling well outside the US and UK markets? Charting on Amazon India or Amazon Mexico? Seeing sales through Kobo in Japan or the Philippines? Getting good results from the Tolino stores across Europe? That’s news. We want to hear about it in the FB group, and yes, with relevant links.

Getting your works translated through Fiberead, Babelcube or by some other means? That’s pertinent. Come and and share your experiences in the FB group.

Seeing chart success with your by translations? That’s worth linking to. Come and show us it can be done!

Got a question about the global markets. Put it up in the FB Group and if I don’t have the answer someone else may.

There’s only a handful of members right now, because the group has only just today been officially announced, so come and help bump those numbers up and meet fellow indie authors travelling the global journey to international sales.

The International Indie Author Facebook Group

100 Million Reasons To Think About Translations Into Local Languages In India.

When I talk about the global New Renaissance and how virtually everyone on the planet will soon be able to access our ebooks I know many struggle to take the idea seriously.

After all, we were brought up in another era. An era when internet access involved buying an expensive computer powered by expensive electricity, that needed an expensive desk to sit it on and an expensive telephone cable connection only available in big cities, and an expensive subscription to an ISP, just in order to dial-up a connection that would slowly unfold a static webpage.

Nowadays we in the rich west take for granted the idea of a handheld, cable-free smartphone that we can read books on, watch films on, message people all over the world on, and, oh yeah, make telephone calls on. And conference calls. And video calls. And…

Ten years ago much of this seemed like science fiction. Even five years ago, when ereaders were just becoming popular, the idea of reading books on a phone seemed a fad that would never catch on in the real world.

But change just keeps on coming, and it gets faster and faster.

IT is no longer the exclusive preserve of the rich west. It’s not even the preserve of the rich few in the rest of the world. The rest of the world has simply skipped all that pain and gone straight from nowhere to 4G.

We’re fast approaching the point where everyone on the planet will have internet access and a handheld device on which to engage with said internet.

There are already over two billion smartphones out there. There are over three billion people with some sort of broadband connection.

And while of course the focus is on the larger cities and densely-populated regions of the world, that doesn’t mean the rural areas are missing out.

Projects like Google’s Loon internet balloons and Facebook’s Aquila internet drones will soon be bringing the internet to even the most remote parts of the inhabited world. For example, Google has recently announced a deal with the Sri Lankan government for Google Loon to provide internet access to the entire island.

Meantime, down on the ground, Facebook’s initiative is bringing free internet access to the poorest of the poor.

And now Google’s “Internet Saathi” project is literally wheeling out the web across rural India. By bicycle.

Over the next eighteen months five million women in 45,000 Indian villages will be getting lessons in how to use their smartphones to connect to the internet. (LINK)

Google this past week tweeted that the first rural woman student, Jayant, had successfully used her smartphone to look up information about the cattle she rears to support her family.

The internet is a wonderful thing.

But it won’t just change Jayant’s life in practical terms like providing information about her cattle. It will also open up a world of entertainment and social engagement previously totally off-limits to her.

How long before Jayant and the other five million women this project will reach will discover ebooks? Maybe one of yours?

Google ‘s South Asia VP Rajan Anandan says that while the English language has dominated the growth of the internet in India so far, “the next 100 million Internet users will not be fluent in English”.

That’s one hundred million reasons to start thinking about translations into India’s myriad local languages.

I am. Are you?

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