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Digital page turner

12 July 2017

From The Nation:

After online shopping, internet-based finance, mobile payments and bicycle-sharing, the digital dimension in China is taking in its sweep the world of books.

The publishing industry has gone digital in a big way, spawning a market comprising 300 million users of mobile devices who read electronic books in China.

The market, which has two key sections in hardware (reading devices) and software (e-books), reached about 12 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) in sales last year, up 25 percent year-on-year, according to a report by the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association.

. . . .

With nearly an 8 percent share of the global market, China now trails only North America, the largest market for e-book readers in 2016 with a 68 percent share, and Europe (almost 14 percent share), according to market consultancy QYResearch.

. . . .

Just like in North America, where the e-book reader device market is dominated by manufacturers such as Amazon, Kobo and PocketBook (which account for a collective 75 percent of the market share), the e-reader market in China has a few big names.

Amazon with its Kindle range of devices is the common leader in both markets, but it is followed by iReader and newcomers such as e-commerce giant JD in China.

As the e-book reader pioneer, Amazon.com has created an ecosystem comprising users, digital versions of printed books, e-book stores online and e-book readers. Amazon said the China market is important for it.

Last month, it announced a strategic partnership with Migu Culture and Technology Group Co, a subsidiary of China Mobile Communications Corp, and also launched a feature-rich Kindle created exclusively for Chinese readers.

The device presents more than 460,000 Kindle e-books and over 400,000 online literature titles from Migu, one of the largest online literature platforms in China.

The made-for-China Kindle X Migu device retails for 658 yuan. “China has become the largest market in the world for Kindle and enjoys a very strong growth momentum,” said Bruce Aitken, vice-president of Amazon China and general manager of Amazon Reading.

He said Chinese book-lovers are increasingly switching over to digital reading devices, and are willing to pay for e-books. This makes Amazon bullish on the future prospects of the digital publishing industry in China.

. . . .

“We find Chinese users refer to the dictionary a lot. Especially their use of the English dictionary is higher than in any other countries, so we specifically designed a function of tips about new words, and provide English-to-Chinese/English definition automatically for Chinese readers,” Aitken said.

Amazon, he said, will launch more new functions over the next year.

Compared with printed books, the cost of e-books is very low. In fact, some of the e-books are free of charge or cost just a few dollars.

For instance, the printed version of The Shortest History of Europe, one of the top five bestsellers in 2016, is priced 25 yuan, while its e-book version retails for only 2.99 yuan.

Link to the rest at The Nation

Ebooks, Non-US, Tablets/Ereaders

7 Comments to “Digital page turner”

  1. If we publish through KDP, are the ebooks available for sale in China?

  2. I wonder how many books by TPV regulars will be available in China, or if the censors will just look for keywords and block any book that happens to include them.

    Yes China is a big market. But it is a tightly limited market.

    • Mark Williams Int.

      China’s censorship is largely restricted to a few politically sensitive areas and moralistic perspectives – sexual content for example.

      TPV regulars won;t be there unless, like me, they’ve stepped outside the KDP route and actually made the effort to be available in China. KDP does not get our titles into the Kindle CN store.

      Having hit #1 on Kindle China in 2014 I can confirm it is worth the efort.

  3. I wonder how Mandarin Simplified, and Mandarin Complex are handled on a kindle or sony ereader [if allowed into china] or on whatever device inc laptop or desktop. The text will be very diff than L to R, forward etc.

  4. Wonder how many of our KDP titles they will simply pirate? We may never see a sale or a penny, regardless of how much reading the Chinese do.

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