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Thursday, 9 February 2012

Amazon, Amazon Everywhere




Hello world. As unpleasant as it is to crow, I’d just like to bring your attention to (in case you’ve missed it) the news/ rumour that Amazon are going to branch out into physical stores. Are you ready for the crowing? Here goes… I told you so!

For reference, please see my insightful Casandra-esque blog piece from August 2010 http://polarispublishing.blogspot.com/2011/08/rise-of-ebooks.html

And here is the New York Times’ take on it:


Sticking to Amazon (as the title of this post suggests we ought), the other piece of big news is that they have launched an e-commerce site in IndiaJunglee.com. For the time being, Junglee does not sell anything directly to the customer, rather it is a central marketplace that guides shoppers to sellers’ individual websites (it should be noted that Amazon is one of these).
India is a market that has incredible potential for the publishing industry (for those yet to tap into it), but it is difficult to crack for small to medium sized publishers who do not have a base there. International bestsellers will do as well in India as anywhere else in the world, and publishers who have an international bestseller (but who do not, like Penguin India, have a base) will be able to explore the option of printing in India with production values and print-runs that can cope with the low cover price demanded by the market. For the rest of us, importing books into India isn’t really a viable consideration because of that low price selling point – there is very little return, if any; in fact, on the few occasions that I have looked into exporting into India, it has transpired that we would be selling copies at a loss once we incorporated shipping costs and local sales commissions.

So the alternative solution, you would imagine, would be through eBooks. But again there are snags – from poor internet bandwidth to promotion and, most crucially, a dearth of reliable and prominent retailers. What is most interesting to note is that Junglee sell Kindles, but does not (yet) list Kindle eBooks. When that position changes and the eBook market becomes viably accessible through Amazon’s existing central online distribution channels, then the issues over reaching the Indian market will suddenly alter dramatically. There will still be issues over bandwidth and promotion, but those are issues that can be tackled once market access has been gained – and Amazon are the most likely to achieve that and achieve it well. My eyes – and those of the rest of the publishing industry – are peeled. 

Speak soon.

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