For any author—and publisher—navigating the sea of digital-book retailers is no easy feat. Amazon, iBookstore, and Barnes & Noble are the well-known giants, together accounting for an estimated 95% of the ebook market. But what about those other e-retailers making a splash: Kobo, Samsung, Sony, Google Play, and Baker & Taylor? Below we dive into these emerging markets:
Based in Canada, Kobo prides itself on having the widest distribution worldwide. They’re inspired by a “Read Freely” philosophy, meaning customers are entitled to read any type of book, anytime, anyplace, and on any device. Customers can read their ebooks on Kobo devices as well as iPads, iPhones, Androids, and Windows with their respective e-reading apps. Kobo also taps into the power of social reading. With Reading Life and the Kobo Pulse app, readers can share reviews, recommendations, and ideas within the device. Social-media sharing capabilities are also built in.
Readers in every territory worldwide can purchase ebooks on Kobo’s store.
With the rapid rise in popularity of their Galaxy Smartphones, Samsung developed Readers Hub, a reading app on par with Apple’s iBooks app. Readers Hub lets Samsung-Galaxy users read and purchase ebooks, magazines, and newspapers from within their phones (the store is not visible online). The store’s “enhanced content recommendation service” aims to generate search results right for each reader. Readers Hub also has social-media sharing capabilities; most notably, readers can highlight passages from ebooks and share them on social networks such as Facebook.
Samsung distributes ebooks to 43 territories between the US, UK, Asia, Europe, Canada, South America, and South Africa.
Sony rolled out a line of dedicated e-readers and launched the Reader Store, an online store in which customers can purchase ebooks and download them to their devices. Sony also developed Reader apps for PC & Mac, Androids, and iOS devices. With the arrival of new touchscreen tablets, Sony has begun selling enhanced ebooks (epub3), focusing the launch on children’s titles. While it’s a relatively small ebook marketplace right now, the introduction of multi-purpose tablets has the potential to increase Sony’s presence.
The Reader Store is available in the US, UK, Canada, Japan, Austria, Germany, and Australia.
Google Play is a media store for music, movies, apps, and ebooks. Google Play stores your library on a digital cloud (with unlimited storage) and offers a web-based reader, allowing you to access your ebooks on any computer with an internet connection. Ebooks purchased on Google Play can also be read on Androids, iPads/iPhones, and many other e-readers via the devices’ web browsers. In addition to current bestsellers, Google Play also offers many free ebooks from the public domain.
Readers can access Google Play in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, and Russia.
Baker & Taylor
Baker & Taylor distributes ebooks, print books, videos, and music to retailers, institutions, and—perhaps most advantageous to new authors—libraries (more than 36,000). Ebooks can be read via Blio, an e-reading app that is available for download for Microsoft Windows, Androids, and Apple iOS devices. Blio also has its own ebook store powered by Baker & Taylor.
Baker & Taylor can distribute content worldwide and currently has active customers in 120 territories.
Allison Horton is Marketing Associate at Vook.