Thursday, December 1, 2011

Kindle's Expansion In Euro Markets: Why You Should Care

Guess who was doing the happy dance this morning, as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) unveiled amazon.es and amazon.it? This person! But, it's not for the reason you may expect - no, I don't enjoy obsessively tracking my sales in each market. Well, not as much.

The new Spanish and Italian sites for Amazon customers allow residents of those countries to buy the thing nearest and dearest to my little author heart: books on Kindle! Since Amazon went live with the German and French sites, there was speculation that Italy would be the next foreign market made accessible to publishers and self-published authors. For reasons which should be very obvious to anyone who knows me, I was rooting for Spain. For now, I earn 85% of my sales on paperbacks and ebooks through Amazon alone. In fact, 90% of my sales come from Kindle ebooks. To say I'm heavily invested in Amazon's every move concerning ebooks would be an understatement. So far, I've had less than ten sales in Germany and nothing in France. Why am I possibly more hopeful with the inclusion of these two new markets? Allow me to explain.

For one, penetration of English language books into any foreign market is great for authors and English-speaking residents of those countries. It introduces readers to books that  may not have been translated into the language of their particular country. It gains more exposure for smaller publishers and self-published authors, like me, who might have been weighing the heavy costs of translation fees against a strong desire for access to European markets.  In addition, Kindle sales in these new countries qualify for the 70% royalty on ebooks priced within the equivalent of 2.99 and 9.99 US dollars - before, the maximum royalty earned was 35%. Double the royalties and more English language books available? Sounds good to me.

Speaking of sales, did you know your Kindle book used to cost an additional $2 or more to readers in the aforementioned European countries? Money that you never saw? Thanks to David Gaughran, who first exposed that nasty little detail on his blog, it became clear why getting sales in certain European markets were that much tougher - why would anyone choose to pay such a high surcharge on an ebook? With each European expansion, Amazon has now removed this surcharge in that particular country. I'm all for making ebooks more affordable across the globe. So Sultana on Kindle, which retails for $3.99 is now available for the equivalent price of 3.22 Euros, without an additional fee imposed. Only two things might make European buyers even happier - learning if or when the new Kindle Fire will be launched in their respective countries, or having all the newly available Kindle books free for download.

Lastly, as a writer of historical fiction, which remains more popular in Europe than it does in the US, and the author of two books set in Spain, subtitled "A Novel of Moorish Spain", Amazon's entry into that particular market couldn't come soon enough for me. Now that it's here, I'm already looking at how I can enhance my author page on amazon.es. Also, I'm betting as the holiday sales of Kindles rise, the Italians may be saying 'Buon Natale' and the Spanish 'Feliz Navidad' with Kindle books. Let's hope some of that holiday cheer finds its way into the pockets of Kindle authors. What am I betting on next? Do I hear whispers of Amazon India? 

Be sure to check out David Gaughran's blog today too; he has a much more in-depth analysis of what this new move from Amazon may mean for us all. If you're not following his blog, you should be!

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