International Insights: Europe

For the next edition of the Alliance of Independent Authors International Insights hosted by Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard, were back for another local spotlight. To check out the rest, you can go to: Asia here, Middle East Arab markets here, Ibero-America here and Asia-Pacific here. Today, Mark is concentrating on the Europe market.

Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard

OverDrive materials many UK libraries, and after that obviously theres Kobo, which for the UK market has a twin opportunity, with the localized Kobo UK shop and likewise access to the UKs second biggest book shop chain, WH Smith. In fact, Kobo has plenty of surprises in these particular west European markets. For instance Kobo is the driving force behind the digital books section of the Netherlands biggest online store and greatest ebook store, Bol.com.

Kindle UK. Kindle Italy. Kindle France. Kindle Spain. Kindle Germany. Amazons got Europe covered for us! And its a reasonable point. These are among the most significant book markets on the planet, and the icing on the cake is that Apple, Kobo and Google Play are all in these markets too. Lets put our feet up and enjoy the ride!

When we think France and ebooks we obviously consider Amazon France, and then theres Apple and Google Play bringing up the rear. Or so we might think. What do French booklovers look to when thoughts turn to digital reading?

In Spain (ebook market worth $233 million) Amazon is a significant force, to be sure, however again its not the only program in town. Apple, Google Play and Kobo are of course choices (Fnac Spain and La Central both Kobo provided), and Spain is the home of subscription service 24Symbols, however there are plenty of other outlets Spanish booklovers can pick from. Storytel, for instance, remains in Spain (unlike Audible). And small shops like Casa del Libro offer ebooks.

Statista values the Dutch ebook market at $144 million in 2020, and the nation likewise has a lively audiobook market, controlled by Luisterhuis (now owned by CB). Luisterhuis circulation consists of to Dutch shops such as Libris, Luisterrijk, De Vries Van Stockum, Kaleida, Bol.com, 123luisterboek, Cliffer, Boeken.com, Luisterboeken, LuisterBieb and De Slegte, while Luisterhuis international reach consists of Storytel, Kobo, Google Play Audiobooks, Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube Music, Tidal, Deezer, Napster and BookBeat.

Lets begin with the UK, where the ebook scene is dominated by Amazon, naturally, however Apple and Google Play can both provide reputable outcomes (if we trouble to promote our link and not spend all our promo time on Amazon). Audible is the dominant audiobook outlet for the UK, however along with Apple and Google Play there is likewise Bookbeat, which offers a devoted ebook and audiobook membership service. Scribd, 24Symbols and Bookmate are likewise subscription options readily available in the UK.

While this essay is ebook focussed (Ill come back on print for indies another time) it would be remiss of me not to explain that, in contrast to Kobo in the Anglophone markets, Kobo Writing Life France uses French indie authors the opportunity to be part of Hachette Live print circulation through Bookélis.

I wont even try to list here all the ebook outlets in Italy. The Italian ebook market is valued at $200 million.

While theres no concern these markets will bring the bulk of our European earnings well be missing out on out on a lot more by not looking at the larger picture, and also drilling down even more into the Big 5.

Kobo, possibly? In truth Kobo is once again multi-faceted, and lags the Fnac France ebook store and Rakuten France ebooks.

Okay, so thats the Big 5 digital book markets in Europe. What about the rest?

Bol brings over 3 million ebooks and 1.8 countless them are in English. But do not be so surprised. The Netherlands regularly tops the English Proficiency Index.

That you would think Kobo would be a star player in Germany, as Europes biggest book market and second largest ebook market (the latter valued at $369 million in 2020), and it is, but not in the method you d expect.

Portugal, because were on the Iberian peninsula? No Amazon here, however Apple and Google Play are and Kobo serves Fnac Portugal.

Were on the home stretch with our initial overview of the global book markets, with just two to go, and our penultimate essay takes us to Europe, where we may well be thinking were already totally engaged, whats to know?

Subscriptions services ooze out of every pore in the Netherlands, with Storytel NL, Bookbeat NL, Nextory NL, Scribd, 24Symbols … And not to point out Kobo Plus, the subscription arm of Bol.com. The Netherlands is also the house of the internationally expanding curated-content subscription service Bookchoice.

Kobo hasnt got an ebook existence to mention in Germany but powers the Tolino Alliance shops, which are the primary competitor to the Kindle shop in the country. In reality, the Tolino stores cover five European countries: Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland with stores that currently consist of Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Osiander, Bucher.de and Meine Buchhandlung. Tolino utilized to consist of Belgiums Standard Boekhandel but that now has a brand-new supply chain.

However French readers may also be heading to Numilog or Youboox or Youscribe to call just a couple of domestic options, and they also have the option of Scribd, 24Symbols, and so on. In reality, when we step outdoors out Anglophone Amazon-centric world we will frequently, counter-intuitively, need to get used to Amazon being 2nd or third choice of readers, or maybe not an option at all.

Ciando is another considerable gamer in the German digital books arena, with its own shop and also feeding libraries and other stores. Most considerably Ciando has a devoted website just for English-language ebooks. (Germany ranks tenth in the world in the English-language Proficiency Index.

In France the ebook market is valued at $404 million, and while we cant put a worth on Amazons share, it does not dominate France in the method it does the US and UK.

The lightning tour is simply since Im quick running out of area, however rest guaranteed well return to these markets in more detail another time. For now:

Based in Sweden, audiobook and ebook subscription service Storytel should be no stranger by now. Its European reach is this: Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Turkey, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, and Spain. Click on this link to go to the Storytel landing page for all 20 markets.

Turkey, with 69 million individuals online, has more web users than the UK, but as yet digital books are still little. The Turkish ebook market this year is valued at just $61 million, and small shops like D&R, Artcivic, Nineva and Idefix are where the action is. D&R and Idefix are both Kobo-supplied.

In internet-user terms Russia is the giant of Europe with 116 million individuals online, and together with Storytel Russia theres Russias very own LitRes which now also streams in Poland (LitRes Poland site here, Russia website here).

Throughout Europe there are 727.5 million people online that might be engaging with our digital books, quite apart from the opportunities in print.

With 29.7 million individuals online Poland is a dynamic digital books market in spite of no Amazon (Polish is not supported by KDP), and in addition to Audioteka and Storytel Poland it would be remiss of me not to point out smaller Polish opportunities like Empik or Ebook Point, UpolujeBooka or Publio, Virtualo or Woblink. And lets not forget the fast-growing digital books membership service Legimi.

Apple and Google Play are frequently a guessing video game for European markets. For example, Apple Books supports Cyprus and Slovenia. Google Play Books does not. But Google Play supports Russia and Belarus which Apple does not. And some countries are not on either list. Albania, North Macedonia, etc

The Turkish ebook market this year is valued at simply $61 million, and small shops like D&R, Artcivic, Nineva and Idefix are where the action is.

The international book market is a lot bigger than we believe.

. Lets get back to the positives and take a second appearance at the previously mentioned Storytel and Audioteka, both audiobook-first however also ebook-engaged.

These are amongst the biggest book markets in the world, and the icing on the cake is that Apple, Kobo and Google Play are all in these markets too. Kobo is complete of surprises in these particular west European markets. In Spain (ebook market worth $233 million) Amazon is a significant force, to be sure, however once again its not the only program in town. The Italian ebook market is valued at $200 million.

Storytel remains in Turkey therefore is Audioteka. Apple does not list Turkey in its Apple Books markets, however Google Play exists.

Heading back to Sweden and say hey there again to Bookbeat, the digital books arm of publishing giant Bonnier, that is likewise in Denmark, Finland, Germany and the UK, and with notional reach throughout 28 European nations, while rival Nextory is broadening fast and now in six markets: Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland and Germany.

Denmark is home to Mofibo, now owned by Storytel and also Podimo, which is a podcasting attire worth keeping a close eye on. As Storytel, Bulgaria is a home for Bookmate, which partners with telcos in Bulgaria and Serbia. Romanias biggest ebook store, Elefant, is legendary, while Hungary also has its own share of digital books outlets. E-letöltés, DiBook and Ekonyv, for instance. And the Czech Republic is no complete stranger to digital books, and even has its own streaming service, Bookport.

And well wind this post up with more on Poland, since weve not yet exhausted this exciting market.

Audioteka, has actually simply introduced in Turkey but is based in Poland, where it is the giant of digital books (likewise in the Czech Republic) and has more than 1 million subscribers. Audioteka streams audiobooks in Polish, Czech, Slovak, Lithuanian, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Turkish and English and has localised satellite stores in Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Lithuania, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Turkey.

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