2.17.2014

Is Amazon Supremacy in eBooks Threatened?

Wow, super star Bella Andre has given full confidence to, no...Not Amazon Kindle Select but Kobo!
See here:



For me, this is surprising news. I've always thought of Amazon as the giant e-retailer whose supremacy could not be threatened - not yet and not for a long time. I guess I was wrong. 

What we have here is a David vs. Goliath fight, who will win?

As the savvy chaps at Ebook Bargains UK write (see here), the deal is "only for three months, and it’s for five French-translated titles, but she could just as easily have gone into Select and gone exclusive for three months with Amazon France. This is very a big-selling indie author. One of the indie super-stars. The fact that she’s gone exclusive with Kobo when she could take her pick of any of the big retailers and get similar terms is worth pondering."

What they suggest is that "if you spend 90% of your time promoting Amazon listings, are in and out of Select, and all your links on your blog, website, email header, etc, etc, are to Amazon then you have only yourself to blame for the readers you are not reaching." (highlight added)

Right so. Are you linking to other places than Amazon? I know I'm guilty of relying on Amazon up to 90%, and in some cases 100%. 

How about you? 

Post-scriptum: I was wondering why Bella Andre might have signed up that exclusive with Kobo and a little check on the Net turned up some very interesting facts (see here, an illuminating Jeremy Greenfield article in Forbes.com dated August 2013). 

In the US, Kobo is minuscule (around 3% of the ebook market) but abroad it's doing well, particularly in Canada and Japan but also Brazil and India, both fast-growing huge markets. But, compared to Amazon, what Kobo is doing that is different is:
1. establish a physical on-the-ground presence (it has just signed up with 500 American booksellers and it is certainly present in bookstores here where I live, Italy).
2. focus on readers and e-readers - the reader experience is at the heart of their ethos, or so they say, whereas, as we all know, Amazon sells all sorts of things besides books. 

Whatever...Kobo must be doing something right! I have no doubts that in France a lot of people read books on Kobo devices - no question, that is probably the bet Bella Andre made when she signed up with them.

Comment from ebooksbargainsuk: I'm posting their comment here in its entirety because it is SO interesting, full of info, including about that fast rising and often neglected market, the Philippines (this comment was posted on my wordpress blog, which you can visit here and follow if you prefer it to this one, I post equally on both):

Thanks for the shout-out, Claude.

Most indies assume Kobo is a dead loss because it doesn’t deliver in the US, but Kobo’s US operation is almost exclusively centred on empowering the many indie booksellers across the USA. In our US newsletter we feature a different indie store every few weeks. Currently it’s Book Soup in West Hollywood. here’s a link to today’s US newsletter – http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/?u=dd7b514ca8b4ebc2a13bb5635&id=e86f23683f&e=6124bbbb46. We also send out to thirteen other countries / regions and will be adding an Ebook Bargains Italy newsletter next month

In Canada Kobo is the biggest player (Chapters Indigo), and as you note it’s strong in Japan and Brazil. BTW, you might want to scoot along to Livraria Cultura in Brazil and let them know they have some issues with your ebooks there. http://www.livrariacultura.com.br/scripts/ebooks/index.asp

Kobo are also strong in France (Fnac) and Italy (Libri Mondadori) and picking up well in Australia (Bookworld, Coliins and and Angus & Roberston) and in New Zealand (PaperPlus and Whitcoulls). 

In the UK they are also doing well but the WH Smith store is currently off limits to indies.

In India Kobo supplies WH Smith India (also off limits to indies) and Crossword.

In Europe in addition to supplying Fnac and LibriMondadori Kobo also has “localized” sites for Germany and the Netherlands. Not to mention a localized South Africa store, where its devices are sold by the largest South African supermarket chain.

And of course Kobo has an international store for readesr who can buy Kobo devices in places as diverse as Hong Kong and Trinidad & Tobago.

But Kobo’s most promising store, for us indies writing in English, is National Book Stores in the Philippines, home to seventy million English speakers (more than the UK!) and one of the best and most indie-friendly of the partner stores.
 
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