Why distribution beyond Amazon really matters
If Bill Gates said it, I tend to believe it. The software tycoon-turned-philanthropist has been proven right on just about everything (if you forget the Zune and that CTRL-ALT-DEL thing).
At the dawn of the internet, Gates published an essay that started off with this line: “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet.”
The name of the essay? “Content is King.”
His 1996 prediction — made during the prehistoric days of dial up modems, AOL and floppy discs — came true. From silly cat videos to eyewitness reports of government crackdowns, and billions of terabytes of everything in between, ours truly is the age of information on demand. As predicted the revenue followed, with powerful eCommerce platforms and monetizing traffic through advertising. Over the years Gates’ truism about the preeminence of information has been stated and restated with almost religious fervor.
Yet the explosion of information is only half the story, and that’s where BookBaby comes into play. Anyone on the planet has the potential to create the most eloquent, breathtaking, astonishing, even life-changing content. But without an audience — or more precisely the means to reach it — this rich content will never be fully appreciated.
Enter the new king: distribution. Some have likened the concept of distribution as the ‘queen’ to Gates’ king content. To rephrase the slightly sexist expression, in this family it’s the queen who “wears the pants!” Call it what you want — transmitter, network or bullhorn — it’s the vital infrastructure to broadcasting your message. Without distribution there is no discovery, no matter how brilliant the content.
Authors depend on BookBaby for distribution and the pipeline we’ve built to help them find their readers. Just last week that pipeline got a whole lot bigger, with millions of potential new readers on the end of the line. Our eBook retail network leaped from 12 to over 60 stores around the globe with the inclusion of distributors ePub Direct and EBSCO.
We’ve placed tens of thousands of books into Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and all the majors. But eager readers can now find our authors’ books in stores such as Spanish eBook giant 24Symbols, Waterstone from the UK, and eChristian.com. Previously, BookBaby authors found sales throughout our far flung network, in stores like Flipkart, the dominant eBook retailer in India, and eSentral with its stores in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
One of the reasons authors choose BookBaby is what I term our “books without boundaries” approach to retail store distribution. We’ve been at the forefront of eBook globalization, supporting the rise of digital publishing throughout the world. After all, it’s called the World Wide Web, not the Internet of the United States! The physical logistics of print books didn’t allow self published authors to reach such widespread international audiences. Digital truly changes everything.
I predict it won’t be long until the international English-language eBook market easily surpasses the US market. Some numbers shared by the Ebook Bargains UK (EBUK) newsletter illustrate why I’m so bullish on the global market.
Remember when I mentioned Flipkart and eSentral, the BookBaby’s retail partners in the southeast Asia region? In just India, Pakistan and Nigeria, the number of English-speakers exceeds the entire population of the United States!
Let’s span the globe According to EBUK, there’s upwards of 75 million English speakers in the Philippines. Over 40 million English speakers in Germany. 30 million in Bangladesh. 30 million in Egypt. 25 million in France. 20 million in Italy. 17 million in Thailand. 15 million in the Netherlands. 15 million in South Africa. 12 million in Poland. 12 million in Turkey. 11 million in Iraq. 10 million in Spain.
Then there’s Brazil, Sweden, Kenya, Cameroon, Malaysia, Russia, Belgium, Israel, Zimbabwe, Romania, Austria, and Greece — all with between 5 and 10 million English speakers each.
A very conservative estimate puts the number of English-speakers outside the USA at around 750 million, and that figure doesn’t include the UK (60m), Australia (20m), New Zealand (4m) and Canada (25m).
Sad to say but a lot of self published authors have the belief that Amazon is the only distribution channel they need to find their readers. BookBaby sales numbers say otherwise. Almost 50% of all sales came through non-Amazon stores — and that’s before we added 45+ new international stores to our lineup.
There’s an entire world beyond Amazon’s jungle. And BookBaby is taking you there!
King content meets Queen distribution. Now that’s a strong marriage.
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