Which Country Reads the Most?

Did you know that English is one of the world’s most wide-spread languages? There are 1.5 billion people in the world who speak English. It is estimated that 375 million speak English as their first language, while over one billion speak English as a second language.

Out of the total 195 countries in the world, 67 nations have English as the primary language of ‘official status’. Plus there are also 27 countries where English is spoken as a secondary ‘official’ language.

Your English-language book can have worldwide readership, not just in countries where English is the majority language, but also in countries with large expatriate American communities like Ecuador. Both Christians and seekers can benefit from your message in these countries. Knowing where to concentrate your marketing efforts based on reading rates in various countries can help you sell more books.

The infographic below by Global English Editing is a great resource for learning about reading habits around the world. .

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Trends in Digital Publishing

For the past few years, Bowker has teamed up with Data Conversion Laboratory, Inc. (DCL) to conduct a Digital Publishing Survey. This year, the two companies surveyed 698 publishers and authors to discovered trends in digital publishing. This year’s survey found that the number of publishers and authors publishing digitally continues to rise.

Here is an infographic with the survey’s findings:

2016-digital-publishing-survey

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Infographic courtesy of Data Conversion Laboratory Inc. and Bowker

An Industry Shakeup

Back in 1998, Stan Davis and Christopher Meyer wrote a book titled BLUR: the speed of change in the connected economy. In the book they state, “Welcome to the new economy—a world where the rate of change is so fast it’s only a blur.”

blur

The book industry is no exception. Changes happen all the time. The industry is blurry because things are constantly changing. Here is the most recent shakeup for the Christian book industry: Send the Light Distribution (STL) is closing.

Citing the lack of funds to remain competitive with the current supply chain for Christian products, STL is liquidating. The company has told suppliers of Christian products that they can keep their product with STL for 90 days while they search for another distributor. During these 90 days, the company will keep their suppliers’ products on the market to their entire customer base.

STL is a large distributor. They sell products for more than 500 suppliers (publishers and authors) to over 10,000 retail locations. However, they can no longer compete in an industry with shrinking store space and growing online print-on-demand sales.

The closure of STL leaves three main distributors in the Christian marketplace that small presses and independent authors have access to: Anchor Distribution, BookMasters, and Spring Arbor. Of course, small presses and independent authors have easy access to distribution with Ingram and Spring Arbor via print-on-demand services Lightning Source and IngramSpark (Christian Small Publishers Association offers its members discounts on these two services).

Nothing is constant. Publishers and authors must be willing to adapt and adapt quickly to changes to stay vital and continue to reach readers. STL was slow to change. They did not incorporate ebook distribution into their services, and they did next to nothing to promote a little known print-on-demand program they had with Snowfall Press for independent authors.

Years ago, I spoke with a Senior Executive at STL about their need to incorporate ebook distribution to stay relevant in the changing marketplace. Sadly, they did not take my advice. The Christian industry still lacks a distribution program for ebooks…and now they lack one distributor as well.

Related Posts:
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The eBook Subscription Model is Still Alive

Movies have Netflix and Hulu. Music has Spotify and Pandora. Audiobooks has Audible or Audiobooks.com. eBooks have Scribd and Amazon Kindle Unlimited. Subscription (or streaming) services have become popular for digital media.

Playster

However, these services have been fairly segmented. There are services for movies, music, audiobooks, and ebooks. Except for Scribd, which provides both audiobooks and ebooks, most subscription services focus on one type of media.

Enter a new type of subscription service, Playster. Playster is a subscription service for all types of entertainment: books, music, movies, and games. Subscribers have a choice with Playster. They can just subscribe to one type of media like movies, or they can purchase a bundle and have access to all types of media. Single-type media subscriptions start at $3.95 per month, while a subscription for the bundle of all types of media is $24.95 per month.

With the demise of ebook subscription services Oyster and Enrich last year, one of the questions that has plagued the ebook subscription service model is whether it is sustainable. Playster believes that by providing all media types on a truly unlimited basis, they are able to offer something unique while still operating a sustainable model that benefits anyone.

In particular, Authors and publishers receive an extra revenue stream all the while the all-in-one model helps them to expand their reach to audiences that they would not have been exposed to before. Unlike Scribd, where authors must use an ebook distributor like Smashwords or BookBaby to be part of Scribd’s ebook subscription service, Playster will work directly with independently published authors.

This is great news! You can benefit from having your books part of a subscription service. Subscription services pay authors a royalty when a book is read via their service. These services provide another avenue for you to become “discovered” by readers. Research shows that readers are more likely to read a free or cheap book by an author they are unfamiliar with. However, if after reading the book, they like the story or content, they will often purchase and read other books by that author.

If you are interested in placing your book in the Playster subscription service, visit their website for more information on how to do that. After all, you can’t be discovered if you are not visible.

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Boosting Global Sales

Book selling is becoming an increasingly global market. The Internet and ebooks have driven this trend. Globalization is great for authors and publishers as it means a wider audience and more book sales.

Global Sales

Any author with an ebook on Amazon or Kobo knows that International sales of your book are not only possible, they have probably already happened. According to Code Mantra, the six largest book markets by country are (in order):

1. United States
2. China
3. Germany
4. Japan
5. France
6. United Kingdom

All these countries have English readers who purchase books.

If you collect email addresses from visitors to your website or blog, you may already be aware that not all the visitors to your site are from the country you reside in. Even on social media, all your followers are not from your country of residence. After all, I am fully aware that that not everyone reading this blog post lives in the United States.

Global reach can present a problem when promoting a book. If you send out an email to your list of customers containing a link to buy your book or if you put up a social media post with a link to buy your book, often this link is to your own website where you sell the book or to Amazon’s website in your country of residence. However, if a consumer in another country clicks on that link, they are not going to buy from Amazon in the United States if they live in China.

If you have a rather large global following, this issue can be of concern to you. Fortunately, there is a free solution to this problem.

A service called SmartURL can help you point your potential customers to an online store in their country of origin through the use of one single URL. SmartURL was originally designed for music sellers. It allows music sellers to create a single URL that directs people to the correct online store (Apple or Google Play) to purchase music depending on the device they are using to access the URL.

SmartURL will also allow you to direct someone who clicks on your purchase link to a specific online store depending on what country the person is accessing the Internet from. In essence, with SmartURL, you create a unique URL that sends everyone to a destination URL that you specify to purchase your book. With this same URL, you can direct people from various countries to the appropriate online store in their country to purchase your book.

If you are concerned that you may be losing sales due to globalization of readers, I encourage you to check out SmartURL and try it out for your next book sale marketing push. With this free tool, you can direct your potential customers to an online sales site selling your book in their currency.

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