Amazon Dominates the World eBook Market

Kelly Gallegher, the VP of Publishing Services at RR Bowker gave an eye opening presentation at a conference. RR Bowker has just completed a 120 country survey into consumer’s ebook buying habits, and today we got a look at some of the data.

The presentation was densely packed with info, and there was in fact more data on the slides than you can take in at one sitting.

If I get the slides I will post them, but until then I think the photos are worth a look.  The world ebook market is a lot more complex than you might think, and each country in the survey has its own market quirks.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • eReaders in the US market peaked at 70% in August 2011, PCs now under 10%
  • From November 2011 to January 2012, the percentage of ebook buyers went from 17% to 20% in the US
  • 35% of ebook buyers are power buyers, and they buy 60% of ebooks & spend 48% of the market
  • Print power buyers, on the other hand, only account for 22%, buy 53% books sold, and they account half the market
  • US ebook market might have hit a saturation point, given that growth has slowed down

And here are some details from the international market

  • fiction has its greatest appeal in developed countries
  • non-fiction & technical books have greater appeal in the emerging ebook markets
  • the PC is still the most popular reading device (all markets)
  • eReaders are the most popular reading device in the US, UK and smartphones win in South Korea
  • India & Brazil have the greatest potential for growth, both in terms of low resistance and high enthusiasm
  • Kobo has a major presence in South Korea (15%)

And as for Amazon, in almost every country where they have a local ebookstore they are the single largest source of ebooks. The one exception is France, where the Kindle Store loses out to “high street chains”, collectively. Split those stores up (Fnac, for example) and Amazon probably wins there too.

Bowker also found that B&N doesn’t show up as having nearly the market presence I thought they did. Consumers reported them as having only 13% of the US market.

(This news via ‘the digital reader‘)

Amazon Is Going to Sell Ebooks Outside the Kindle Store

Kindle Store
Photo: Amazon

Paid Content shared the news, that Amazon is planning to publish a series of short biographies, called Amazon Liveswhich won’t be exclusive to Kindle Store.

In other words: they will be available for sale at other etailers.

This is a beginning of the big thing. This series is just a little sign of it. The first book will be published in June 2013, so it’s a long time to go, but the intentions of the online giant are clear. Amazon wants to sell as much content as possible – and to do that they are willing to open up.

Unlike all of the other e-books that Amazon has published so far, the “Amazon Lives” series will not be exclusive to the Kindle Store. The NYT first reported this and Amazon confirmed it, telling me, “The books will be available to be sold everywhere in all formats.”

Other ebookstores don’t usually support mobi format. One thing this move means is that the books for open distribution will be prepared in epub format as well.

But it also can mean, and I very much hope it will happen, that Amazon on their way to openness, will bless epub for Kindle ecosystem.

Via paidContent, via EbookFriendly.

The Problem With Ebook Daily Deals

from Ebook Friendly » Tips & More by Piotr Kowalczyk

Kindle Daily DealKindle Daily Deal / Amazon

I’m tracking Kindle Daily Deal since the very beginning. I’m also watching Kindle Daily Deal in UK and Germany, as well as Nook Daily Find – B&N’s answer to ebook deals from Amazon.

It actually doesn’t take a lot of time to notice that those deals are about the attractiveness of the price, not the book.

An overwhelming majority of titles come from a midlist. Only few of the Kindle Daily Deal books were the real bestsellers. Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants was there to make a powerful introduction of Kindle Daily Deal and to raise readers’ expectations – which I doubt will ever be met.

There are two reasons why there are so few bestselling titles featured as ebook daily deals:

1. Publishers of bestselling books don’t need it

It’s obvious. If the book sells well, it doesn’t have to be discounted, even for one day. Full stop.

When the book is dug down in the middle of the list, then it’s a different story. Its author and publisher want more exposure. Being featured as a daily deal means a lot of exposure. I made a summary of KDD books in Top 100 in October. As much as 20 of them entered the list!

For a publisher and/or author it pays off to enter the daily deal only if the book doesn’t sell well in the first place.

2. Ebookstores don’t want it

The truth is that ebookstores don’t want highly attractive books as well. They don’t want the customers to buy a bestseller for $0.99 and leave.

Daily deals are intended to bring people to the store. They are teasers. If readers don’t know a lot about the book, they’ll start digging – and this is exactly what ebookstores want.

I was always wondering why Amazon doesn’t give a full information about the book on the official Kindle Daily Deal page. Or why they don’t offer a 1-Click Buy button. Or why they don’t offer RSS feed. Because they don’t really want users to jump and quit.

What they want is to turn customers into a shopping mood. And they want that mood return every single day.

Obviously, from time to time there will be bestsellers. As often as it’s needed to keep readers interested in daily deals – but as seldom as possible. Especially that the first reason comes back: publishers of bestselling titles don’t need daily deals. Therefore, ebookstores will most probably have to refund lost profits.

And the last thing ebookstores want is to pay for the featured book. What they want is to make the customer pay – and not only for the featured book.

Indie Promotion

Dear reader,

It is Monday again. You have probably come to expect this: today’s Indie Promotion:

Death by Broken Heart

by Candy Little

Ebook Short Description: Bailey Rhodes is used to running away from problems. When she returns to her hometown for a class reunion, and runs into her old boyfriend, Randy, she struggles to keep her emotions and past hurts hid deep in her heart.

When a local landlord is found at the bottom of the ledges, she doesn’t believe it’s an accident. Randy and his parents are prime suspects. In her pursuit to find the killer, she may lose her friends, and gain a broken heart in the process.

Can she solve the murder before her heart is broken again?

Death by Broken Heart is called a “cozy mystery novella” by the author.

Where to find.
You can find the e-book on and ready for your Kindle. Just follow the link.

If you with to connect with Candy Little, please visit her facebook page.

Indie promotion

Dear reader,

Welcome to a new Indie Promotion. Today I present to you:

Death Wish: Book I (The Vamp Saga)

by Danielle Blanchard

Ebook Short Description: Welcome to Las Vegas in the year 2020.

The cold war between mortals and vampires has ended … the vampires won and now they control the most powerful organizations in the world which include the Global Six, the pharmaceutical industry, the gaming industry and banking.

Manon Mourey is a half-breed (too bad she doesn’t know it) and one of the most powerful vamps in the world, Mikkel Damgaard, has eyes only for her. She holds the key to a dream most vampires have had since they were turned… yet her secret to changing the undead into Day Walkers could spark a war on the International Vampire Council… and soon ensnare the whole entire world.

Death Wish 1 – The Vamp Saga is not YA friendly, contains a lot of profanity, a bit of snark, and has a few choice scenes of sex and death. It is not for the faint of heart. So you are warned. Or enticed.

Where to find.
You can find this book .

If you want to know more about this author, visit herfacebook page .

Buying a Kindle Fire for Europeans. Worth the trouble?

Dear reader,

This might be an interesting article for European e-reader friends. I found it and thought it good to share:

“Recently, a friendly colleague brought a Kindle Fire back to the Netherlands after his US trip. I had bugged him for weeks to buy this tablet for me because I really think the Fire matches my needs: “reading books and blog articles on a back lit tablet that is small enough to hold in one hand for one to several hours”. Also, I am Dutch, so yeah, low prices will score bonus points with me ($200) 😉 As an avid tablet user I also own a Ipad 2 and, although a fantastic machine, it is not ideal for e-book reading. Too bulky. Still. So I decided purchase the tablet with the second largest market share ( ) in the world.

Frankly, I am also quite the Amazon fan. I already own a Kindle Keyboard (based on e-ink, a bliss to read in well lit environments) and purchased several books on the Amazon store that are smoothly synced with my Kindle apps and tablets. Through whyspersync, I can always continue reading where I left of on any Kindle app or Kindle tablet. Its ecosystem truly works like a charm.

Unpacking the fire, I noticed how thick it is. Although much smaller than the Ipad, it feels solid even borderline clunky. Not too heavy to hold in one hand for several hours though, so that’s good.
Its screen is great and crystal clear. I was surprised that watching high quality movies/series is actually above all expected standards.

The Amazon UX layer for Android is fully content driven. On iOS or Android you start by opening a program. The kindle expects you to start with content, e.g., a movie, mp3, magazine or book. It is geared that way. No suprise with the world’s biggest content merchant behind it.

Watching movies & reading books works great on the Fire. But if you are expecting a regular Android / iOS user experience you might get disappointed. Yes, you can “root” the Fire to get such an experience but you will lose your guarantees and some of the “Amazon experience” build in the Amazon UX.

A big, no huge, disadvantage is you need a US address/credit card and IP address to stream movies or series delivered by Amazon. This is the reason why the Fire isn’t sold outside the US yet: there are too many content rights issues for non US citizens. It is simply not sold beyond the US yet.

My conclusion/friendly advice to you, European or non US citizen, is that you should not get a Kindle Fire right now. The tablet works great, is relatively cheap but is not worth going through the troubles of importing UNLESS

  • You may use a valid US address;
  • You obtained a US credit card;
  • For movies/music consumption: you have access to DNS utilities that can change your ip address to a US ip address (and your ISP does not block this);
  • You are an Amazon fanboy/girl like me.

Amazon and foreign languages

Dear reader,

It seems that Amazon is doing some very strange things with respect to foreign languages.

On the friendly website of, I found this article, which I will post here verbatim:

(start quote)

Amazon Is Removing from Kindle Store Books Published in Unsupported Languages

The international policy of Amazon is mysterious. They ship Kindle Touch to over 170 countries, but they don’t want to sell it to their major markets. They also sell Kindle books to 170 countries, but they successfully prevent authors from those countries to publish in their own language.

I self-published via Amazon’s KDP a few books. Two of them in Polish. Tonight an email arrived from KDP, saying that one of the books has been removed:

As part of our efforts to provide the best experience possible for customers in the Kindle store, we are taking this opportunity to notify you that your book(s) is in a language not currently supported by KDP.  As a result, we will be removing your book(s) from the Kindle Store:

E-opowiadania 1 [Polish Edition] (ASIN:B004TYZ1FW)

Please note that we are only accepting new submissions in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese at this time. The Kindle community is expanding quickly and we’re working to support titles in more languages in the months ahead.

Amazon opened their self-publishing platform to authors from outside US at the beginning of 2010. I remember that fact very well, as it happened on the eve of the rumored launch of Google Ebookstore and I had no doubts that Amazon’s move was to weaken the competitor.

At the beginning there were as much as 16 supported languages and authors from countries like Poland were hoping to have new languages on board soon. Nothing like this happened. Just the opposite. Last year the list of languages was being limited to six: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

However it was still possible to publish books in other languages. You had to use a couple of tricks and it was terribly difficult to get through, but it was possible.

A couple of days ago I noticed that the language status of the book, which is now removed, was changed from “English” to “Polish”. The other title, which is, to get things even more interesting, a part of the series, is still in the Kindle Store, with a status “English”.

If you self-published a book via Amazon’s KDP, and it’s in an unsupported language, you better check the status. If the language is still English, your book may be safe.

There is a small community of Polish authors who self-published their books at KDP, and many of them were affected. I’m sure it’s not only about Polish books. If you’ve heard about removing books in other languages, please share the information in the comments below.

Why is this happening now? I hope Amazon will keep on their promises: “we’re working to support titles in more languages in the months ahead”.

According to Nexto, one of the biggest Polish ebookstores, there are over 60,000 Kindle devices in Poland. First thing a new Kindle owner does is to check books in the mother tongue. Those who speak English, German, French, Spanish or Portuguese are lucky. The rest have to use tricks to find books in Kindle Store. If they don’t, they start to look somewhere else. If I were Amazon, I would consider it a lost opportunity.

I’ve asked KDP for explanation. If any specific answer comes, I’ll share it.

Update: Just checked my KDP dashboard. The status of the book in question is “blocked” and it means:

(end quote)

This may not have much impact on most readers, as they are probably native English, but if I had the idea to publish my Hilda books in Dutch, they would not appear on for the simple reason that they do not support my native language.

Preparing an e-book to publish on Smashwords

Dear reader, perhaps also fellow writer,

I have noticed that there are people who are still not certain how they should make up their books or other publishing material, in order to easily get them accepted by Smashwords.

It is a lot of work to get your work formatted the way you like it. I know, I’ve been there. For Smashwords however, there is a very useful e-book, written by Smashwords originator Mark Coker. It is the Smashwords Style Guide .

The book is available for everyone, is absolutely free, and once you applied the tips that are presented in there, your book should not have problems being accepted in the Smashwords Meatgrinder, which is the name of the program that converts your Word document to the formats in which you want your e-book published.

I have also found that, once your book is done in this way, it is childsplay to also get your book accepted on, as the Smashwords regulations for formatting and so forth appear to be more strict than those on Amazon.

A piece of advice I can give you is: once you had your first book accepted, and you like the layout of it, make a copy of that document, clear out all the text except for pointers what goes where, and save that as a template for future publications. That way your new document, based on this template, will already have the proper settings for headings, chapters, line spacing and indents, and you just need to pour your text into it.

With thanks to Mark Coker, for setting up and providing a book on how to fix your documents to get your work online as easily as possible.

Hilda – Dragon Master on Amazon

Yes, dear reader, you see correctly.

The e-publishing machine seems to run like clockwork. Never before has a new book of Hilda the Wicked Witch appeared on Smashwords and Amazon on the same day. Today it happened.

You can find the 8th book of the witch in all the Amazon stores. Follow this link to see the book on

Happy reading!

Hilda’s 8th book. Dragon Master.

Dear reader and perhaps Hilda fan,

Here is the good news: book 8, Dragon Master, is now available at Smashwords. It will soon be available on Amazon as well, but the reviewing team there takes its time. I will of course post an announcement here when the book on Amazon is ready.

Contrary to the previous 7 books in the series, this one is, alas, not free anymore. I hope the price of $1.75 will not hold you back, though.

The good news for readers of this website however is, that if you purchase the book on Smashwords after reading this, you can use coupon code ZF65C upon checkout, after which you will be set back only 99 cents. This coupon is valid until February 4th, 2012. I hope this lessens the pain for you.