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It's a Kobo World: 12 eBook Markets in 12 Months and What We Learned

From the Publishers Launch Frankfurt event, Kobo's EVP Content, Sales & Merchandising Michael Tamblyn talks about Kobo's breakneck pace around the world opening up new ebook markets.
by

Michael Tamblyn

on 8 February 2017

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Transcript of It's a Kobo World: 12 eBook Markets in 12 Months and What We Learned

It's a world!
Lessons learned in 12 countries
in 12 months.
Publishers Launch Frankfurt
the world
Michael Tamblyn (@mtamblyn)

Executive Vice President
content, Sales & Merchandising
@kobo
Acquiring content.
Managing publisher relationships.
Merchandising & pricing.
Self-Publishing (Kobo Writing Life)
Content management & metadata.
Content analytics
Best. Job. Ever.
Toronto, Canada
(2009)
USA
(2009)
Australia (2010)
New Zealand (2010)
Hong Kong (2010)
Germany (2011)
France (2011)
FNAC
UK (2011)
WH Smith
What next?
12 in 12
12
countries and/or partners
in 12
months
The plan was simple
in 2012
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
a country a month...
...for twelve months
Not quite what happened.
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
Libris,
Netherlands
Local DRM standards
No epub. None.
Vertical text, R-to-L
Highly vigilant publishers
No metadata standards
No subject coding standards
Completely unique ecommerce
culture
Centraal Boekhuis
Publishers seeking a competitive market
epub all around
Fantastic retail partner
Adopt Kobo DRM
Massive conversion effort
Build new viewers
QA and review processes for viewers, content
Create and encourage adoption of
Metadata standard
Map proprietary subject codes to BISAC
Build Kobo Tokyo team for publisher relations, content management, merchandising
Took a little time.
Rakuten Kobo
Japan
Mondadori, Italy
FNAC, Portugal
Switzerland
Livraria Cultura, Brazil The American Booksellers Association
Booksellers Association
Next stop: Japan!
Why local partners?

eBook services are global,
but bookselling is local.
Understanding the reader
Hand-selling devices
Why is everyone in the fall?
An incredibly important decision.
Who am I willing to trust my customers to?
Devices + Content ecosystem + Ability to deliver
Ready in time for the holidays
Due diligence.
Integration and launch planning
Not a quick process.
What do we see?
Now in
US, Japan, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong
Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland
Rapid growth in the global catalog
~3% a week
and accelerating
sales driving new conversion

New markets coming online

Self-publishing

An aggregator in every country
English
+40%
Portuguese
+252%
German
+206%
Spanish
+128%
French
+70%
Dutch
+117%
+ Catalan
+60%
English catalog
French catalog
FICTION
Dutch
FICTION
German
FICTION
FICTION
Italian
FICTION
Portuguese
FICTION
COMICS, MANGA & GRAPHIC NOVELS
Japanese
Catalog looks the most like print.
Balance of fiction & non-fiction titles.
Growth in STM, Education, Self-Pub
Some print categories won't come over (Travel, Reference)
Backlist backfill continues
Indie presses all in the game
Colour, comics, graphic novels slowly showing up
Highest prices in EU *but*
French publishers now starting to experiment with price
Small presses just starting to arrive
Comics & graphic novels next...
Second-lowest consumer prices in EU
Strongest new title and conversion output from major publishers
Lagging in self-publishing (so far...)
Price experimentation heating up
Strongest consumption of non-local titles
Rapidly growing self-publishing market
Lowest publisher-set prices in EU
And Kobo eReaders have never looked so beautiful.
...but next stop Brazil...
Very different consumer
Manga & light novels
Fast readers, high purchase frequency
Just getting started and already huge
More announcements to come!
Hall 8.0- Stand G919

mt@kobo.com
@mtamblyn
@kobo
In the last
6 months
WH Smith
FNAC France
Indigo
Collins
Whitcoulls
+ General Retail & CE
Literacy
Disposable income
Reading market size
Internet availability
Wireless availability
Availability of digital content
Local partners
The ideal:
A great national* retailer
Consumer electronics
General retail
...to people who read.
Fewer countries with perfect combination of
population + income + digital assets + literacy + wireless
More fragmented markets, smaller markets.
Therefore: New models, more educational+ instructional
A greater role for independents and distributed retail.
Next:
just getting started...
Kobo
10 million users
beautiful devices
3 million titles
190 countries
obsessive focus on the reader
Full transcript