For todays edition of the Alliance of Independent Authors International Insights hosted by Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard, were talking about the most recent in worldwide publishing news.
Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard
Theres never ever a dull moment on the international publishing scene, and internationalist indies require to keep up with advancement to stay ahead of the game. Todays news is tomorrows chance. The 39th Sharjah International Book Fair has simply completed an 11-day run in the United Arab Emirates, and was the very first significant in-person book fair given that the international lockdown started in March.
A great location to search for future opportunities is the UK trade journal The Booksellers Futurebook event, which this year is online (and happening as this post is written).
More on the Arab markets can be found here in our devoted Middle East North Africa Arab markets post.
A tip here that Storytel, like rival unlimited digital books subscription services BookBeat and Nextory, have actually been posting spectacular results quarter after quarter after quarter. See this ALLi International Insights post on subscription.
Nextory on the other hand, is set to launch in the Netherlands in December, and there will be more launches quickly, as Nextory has simply banked a $20 million investment for worldwide growth, having actually chosen up $6 million previously this year.
Hopefully, with apologies to grammar Nazis who will oppose take advantage of can not be a verb, the relocation by PRH to take advantage of its Spanish-language content in the US will encourage indies to do the same. Many self-publishers purchase Spanish-language material, but I see extremely few promoting it to a United States audience.
Storytel simply introduced in Belgium (its 21st market) and is set to launch in Thailand any day now. It has launches in Indonesia and Israel lined up for early 2021, and 16 more markets to come by 2023.
Lets leave the USA now and head for SE Asia, where Big Bad Wolf, which you might keep in mind offers English-language books by the million (literally) to eager booklovers in countries where normally English is not the first language, has actually set up its next online sale in Indonesia. Set for December 1-7 the sale will be worked on the SE Asia e-commerce site Tokopedia.
Sharjah was just recently World Book Capital, and the Sharjah International Book Fair this year fielded over 1,000 publishers from 73 nations, and attracted a crowd of 382,000– on par with the finest turnout that the Frankfurt Book Fair can pull in. And on top of that it drew in another 65,000 virtual visitors for its digital occasions.
I pointed out Sweden above. Theres another publishing legend in the making there as Sweden reaches the tipping point where digital books, and specifically audiobooks, are on the verge of outselling print.
Arabs dont read? A few of the greatest book fairs in the world remain in the Arab markets. The UAE is the base for Storytel Arabia, simply one of many audiobook services there. Google Play Books exists too. Regretfully despite there being an Amazon UAE, there is no UAE Kindle store. However, small payment as it is, we can sell Arabic-language ebooks on Amazon where there are Kindle stores, and likewise on Kobo.
By some counts thats currently taking place, with digital now 60% of the market, however the Christmas trading duration might assist draw back prints slide, if Covid-19 constraints allow. Simply this month Storytel CEO Jonas Tellander announced he anticipated audiobooks alone to be more than 50% of the Swedish book market by the end of this year.
Thats close to 450,000 visitors in all, and while it was thought about a huge success in the circumstances– rigorous Covid-19 controls meant fewer than typical visitors were allowed– it was however a shadow of the “normal” Sharjah event. In 2015 the Sharjah International Book Fair pulled in an in-person crowd of 2.5 million, and 2 million has to do with average.
On the other hand, in the USA the worlds biggest trade publisher, PRH, lastly released its Spanish-language arm in the USA. Penguin Random House Español will concentrate on PRH titles intended at Spanish-speakers in the USA, a market not to be sneezed at. The USA is the second-largest Spanish-speaking market on the planet, after Mexico. And yes, that does mean the USA has more Spanish-speakers than Spain. Some 20 million more. In truth, the USAs 60 million Spanish-speakers make it a possible market bigger than Italy and not far except France or the UK.
The absence of any mention of Amazon being of course because Amazon is not accessible in SE Asia, although an Amazon Indonesia launch is being prepared. There have actually been no brand-new Kindle shops since, in spite of brand-new Amazon launches in Singapore, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Sweden.
Fair to state that wishful considering further Kindle shops can now be classed as a victory of hope over experience, and this need to be all the more factor to keep seeing the international markets for brand-new opportunities.
In the UK too, ebooks and audiobooks have been soaring. The UK digital books market is expected to strike an all time high this year. And for the record, no, audiobooks are not outselling ebooks. By Nielsens own figures ebook sales in the UK are approximately double audiobook sales, and thats simply mainstream numbers. The real numbers for ebooks, when we consider APub, vanity press and indie sales not recorded by Nielsen, will be much higher. Much for screen tiredness.
Sharjah is house to the worlds very first Publishing City and books are revered like you wouldnt think. And at twelve years old the boy home loans the golden dagger to purchase books. And you wont discover a more generous and energetic advocate of books and releasing anywhere.
This comes right after the substantial success of the Big Bad Wolf online sales in Malaysia, which drew in over 1.5 million buyers in its very first run and then extended that run with a collaboration with the SE Asia e-commerce website Shopee.
The UAE? Potentially not on the majority of our prospective book market lists, and naturally so. After all, all of us understand Arabs do not read, and anyhow the UAE is a small nation of fewer than 10 million people. Very little bigger than New York City. Or Sweden. And whoever heard of Sharjah anyhow?
Jonas Tellander, the CEO of Storytel as pointed out above, has excellent recommendations for publishers:
” Embrace streaming to stay pertinent.”
And thats as important to us indies as to traditional publishers. For a closer look at the streaming model and what it means for indies, see this ALLi International insights post. And for my analysis of the Tellander remarks, see here.
Returning the ALLi post, simply a reminder of the bottom line because short article: that we must not judge membership on our Kindle Unlimited (KU) experience, bad or excellent. When we select to decide into KU we have no option but to opt out of all other platforms, whether à la carte retail, subscription, library or other. With Amazon, KU subscription means exclusivity. Take it or leave it.
We can remain just in Amazons retail sphere and participate in as lots of the subscription services (and retail and library and …) as we can summon the energy for, opening up a whole new vista of subscription alternatives, consisting of Storytel, Bookbeat, Nextory, Bookmate, Findaway, 24Symbols, Skoobe, Scribd, Ubook and too lots of more to mention.
Much more happening around the world, but no more area to check out, so Ill wind up this post, as I almost always do, by stating:
The international book market. Its a lot larger than we believe.
The 39th Sharjah International Book Fair has actually simply completed an 11-day run in the United Arab Emirates, and was the first significant in-person book fair because the global lockdown began in March.
Potentially not on many of our prospective book market lists, and naturally so. Some of the most significant book fairs in the world are in the Arab markets. Sharjah is house to the worlds first Publishing City and books are revered like you would not think. The UK digital books market is anticipated to strike an all time high this year.