The Next eBook Frontier

Google, Amazon, and Kobo all continue to expand their ebook sales to new countries on almost a monthly basis. Recently, all three launched online ebook retail stores in Brazil.


Kobo, a Canadian-based e-reader and ebook publishing and sales business, continues to expand its international sales. The company has come up with the countries they consider to be the next ebook frontiers. “The next frontiers are China, Russia and India—all of the places we’re looking out to now where ebooks haven’t penetrated yet,” said Kobo director of merchandising Nathan Maharaj.

China, Russia, and India. Each of these countries is experiencing growth in consumer spending. As a result, they represent the best opportunity for growth in the future. India especially has been identified as a ripe opportunity for United States publishers because it has a large English-speaking population.

However, the biggest issue will be pricing. How do you price an ebook for these countries?

The problem is that these countries traditionally have lower price points. For example, many publishers, especially textbook publishers, already print and sell identical editions of textbooks that they publish in America for much lower prices overseas. In other words, the very same book commands a much lower selling price overseas.

The bottom-line is that if you are looking to expand the sale of your English-language ebooks into the next ebook frontier and into countries such as China, Russia, and India, you will have to be willing to price your ebook much lower—probably as low as $1 or $2 for these markets.

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Exposure, Exposure, Exposure

Launching a new book to get the maximum attention possible with your marketing campaign can be challenging. Getting the word out about a new book takes time.

Most people are exposed to a new book through a word-of-mouth recommendation from others they know. Think about that. It could take someone a week to a month to read your new book before they start telling their friends about it.

The Internet is helping extend people’s book discovery by adding avenues of exposure for publishers and authors. Through enlarging people’s social circles and thus increasing the reach of word-of-mouth recommendations, sites like Facebook and Goodreads can help exponentially increase exposure of your books.

Watch this video from Otis Chandler, founder and CEO of Goodreads on new reading metrics for reaching readers.

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The Value of Goals

The New Year is here and it is time to get serious about implementing those new professional and business goals you have set for yourself and your business.


I am not calling these goals “New Year’s Resolutions”, because that is not what they are. What I am referring to are the goals, strategies, and new directions you have set either for your publishing business or your professional writing.

A National Small Business Survey by Staples found that 80 percent of the 300 small business owners they surveyed did not keep track of their business goals. Interestingly, 77 percent of these businesses have yet to achieve their vision for their company.

The value of goal setting is that it steers a business in the right direction. The direction is set by the vision of what the business wants to achieve. Goals help keep a business on track.

Experts have defined four areas for business goals. They are:

  1. Service – Goals related to improving customer retention.
  2. ProfitGoals set to increase profits.
  3. Growth – Goals related to the expansion of a business.
  4. Social – Goals that focus on giving back to the community.

At Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), we are regularly evaluating what we offer our member publishers and setting new goals to improve our services.

For 2013, CSPA is rolling out a new website design this week. You can check out our website facelift at We are also adding a couple new services (in addition to the already great line-up of marketing services) to help our members better market their books to Christians.

As for my personal writing goals, the task of heading CSPA has consumed most of my time, and so writing keeps getting put on the back burner. I have decided to set a goal to update my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace this year. The first edition was released in 2006 and the second in 2009. It is time for the third edition, although the task will be time intensive. The publishing industry has changed more in the past three years than it did in the previous three between the first and second edition of the book.

What about you? Do you regularly set goals for your business? What do you hope to achieve in 2013? I would love to hear from you.

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It’s Not Just Price…

How do Americans’ shop for books? This question was part of a study done by Simon-Kucher & Partners. The answers they found were interesting.

Shopping trolley on button of computer keyboard

It appears that the study’s findings go against the grain of some long-held beliefs about the importance of price in selling books, especially the idea that people buy books online because they can be purchased cheaper than in a brick-and-mortar store.

The Simon-Kucher & Partners study found:

  1. Convenience is just as important as price when a reader decides to buy a book online.
  2. The more consumers buy books online, the less important price is to them.

Don’t read the findings of this study wrong. Price is still important. However 76% of the survey respondents did not list price as the number one reason they purchase books online. For these respondents, convenience and the ability to shop 24/7 were top of their list.

I have always preached that to sell well, your books must be readily available to consumers. This means that your book is for sale in more places than just your website and The results of this survey also point to this fact.

Price is important to consumers, but convenience is just as important. Once a person decides to buy a certain book, easy access to purchasing that book is necessary to complete the transaction.

Whether you are selling print books, ebooks, or both, make sure that your books are available on multiple retail channels online so that consumers can:

  1. Easily find your books.
  2. Buy your books on the website they feel most comfortable using.

Remember, it’s not just price, convenience is also important.

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