How widely does Kindle's garden really grow?


Image - iStockphoto: pixelpot
Image – iStockphoto: pixelpot

We know what Kindle can do for a single title.

It was the Kindle Daily Deal for [Gail Carriger’s] Etiquette & Espionage that happened last week. Thousands and thousands of ebook copies sold during a short period of time. As we can now see from yesterday’s news, it was enough to propel the whole “Finishing School” series onto the New York Times list.

Kristin Nelson
Kristin Nelson

That’s literary agent Kristin Nelson in The Power of a Kindle Daily Deal, a post marking the 35th time that one of her clients’ titles has shown up on the Times’ lists.

That kind of Kindle kick, we get. Authors will run down the street for it, and rightly so. Seattle-driven promotion on the most successful family of e-reading devices can make you the prize rose bush in one big, big, big walled garden. We’re out to take nothing away from that kind of commercial reach into the pockets of those Primed for consumerism.

But here is our good colleague Philip Jones, The Bookseller’s editor, in his Tuesday column for The FutureBook, Around the world in 80 ways:

Amazon’s Kindle store-fronts now operate in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Japan, France, Holland, and Spain. But it is not always able to make the same offer in each of these sectors. In Australia, for example, it shows 3m Kindle books, and in Mexico lists 2.5m English-language titles alongside 120,000 Spanish titles. But in France only 145,000 local-language books are offered, while in Holland it has just 23,000 Dutch titles versus 2.7m in English.

Philip Jones
Philip Jones

Jones is calling on us to think again:

We expect Amazon to be in the lead wherever it lands, but in some regions it has been matched by Kobo, Apple, or other strong local players, such as Tolino in Germany.

Speaking of Tolino, just a week ago, Publishing Perspectives’ Edward Nawotka ran comments from the MVB’s Ronald Schild. Nawotka’s intro to In Germany: eBooks Less Than 10% of Market, Tolino Grows, spells out the kind of confusion that can bedevil analysts. Tolino is, as Nawotka reminds us, “an ebook retailer formed through an alliance between German booksellers Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Club Bertelsmann, wholesaler Libri, and Deutschen Telekom AG.”

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Edward Nawotka

And Nawotka writes:

Last November, market research group GfK offered data that indicated Germany’s homegrown e-book platform Tolino had in the third quarter of 2014 overtaken Amazon in market share. Many raised eyebrows, particularly in Germany, where numerous publishers indicate that Amazon is still selling as much as three times as many books as Tolino. The general consensus suggests that Amazon has an ebook market share of 50-60%, 15-20% for Tolino, with Apple at 10%.

Schild, in his own commentary, gets right to it: Not for nothing has the Tolino jumped borders quickly from its native Germany.

The investment in the infrastructure is tremendous. It makes sense to capitalize your investments by going international very quickly: [Tolino has] also moved Poland, Holland and Italy. It is a clear strategy to cover as much territory as possible.

Ronald Schild
Ronald Schild

And Schild sees, he writes, two key challenges to Tolino’s progress.

One is the transition from e-readers to tablets…as the reading habits move on…toward reading on tablets and smartphones, the loyalty to a specific brand becomes hard to sustain when you can buy from Apple, Google, Amazon or Tolino….The second big challenge is the move by Kindle to offer subscription bundles of different media, which they already do with children’s content, and if that proves to be a valid offering sought after by the customers, it will be hard for Tolino to compete.

Read More

By Porter Ander­son

The FutureBook: #FutureChat today: How widely does Kindle’s garden really grow?

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