OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
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I'm VERY excited about the global market for ebooks, which is just beginning to explode!
The US, UK and Canada can be considered ‘mature' ebook markets, but the rest of the world is just beginning the exponential growth that characterized these early adopters. Germany is currently the 3rd largest ebook sales market, so it is already worth trying to break into.
In the intro I update you on my own writing progress, and my project for NaNoWriMo, Delirium, which you can see a little about on my Pinterest boards. I also have a print giveaway for ‘One Day In Budapest’ on Goodreads – click here to enter before Nov 14th.
The podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets through the Kobo eco-system. Today I explain why I think authors should be using Kobo to reach readers they wouldn't otherwise.
Matthias Matting is a journalist and author of more than 30 books in 6 languages that have sold over 100,000 copies. He runs selfpublisherbibel.de, the #1 site for self-publishing in Germany and he's just published the English version of his ebook ‘How to publish in Germany‘, available now.
- How Matthias got started with self-publishing, experimenting with different books on the Kindle and other devices.
- Why the German market is worth pursuing. There's a population of 80 million (bigger than the UK) but the book sales volume is 40% of the USA (with a population of 300m). There are also German speakers in Austria, Switzerland and of course, the rest of the world. Ebook adoption is increasing and Germany is the 3rd largest ebook market after US and UK right now.
- Books that sell well are similar to the US – romance, fantasy, thrillers & crime. 50% of the top 100 bestsellers are self-published.
- Some books in English sell well, but generally you want to publish in German. You can look at translation opportunities at Proz.com or TranslatorsCafe.com. Translators will apply for projects and you can see their experience. You should ask for a test chapter and find a native speaker to read it in order to check quality. Pricing varies by the word, but a 70,000 word book would be between US$3000-$5000. Joint venture partnerships are starting to happen [as I am doing with my translator].
- In terms of ebook readers, Amazon and Kindle have 60% of the market. The Tolino has ~30% and was started by German publishers. It is also sold in physical bookstores so will always have a good % of the market.
- To publish on the Tolino, you have to use an aggregator as right now they don't have a direct publishing platform. You can use Xinxii.com or ePubli.co.uk (currently exclusive).
- On pricing. The German fixed book price law which means all prices have to be the same on all platforms. Using free and 99c for promotion with 2.99 EUR being the most common price for indies.
- Matthias mentions using Apple iBooksAuthor for his physics book, The new biography of the Universe. But in general, the iBookstore doesn't have great penetration. He also recommends Createspace.com for print-on-demand as the only service that offers competitive pricing in Germany.
- Marketing. When you announce your sales, Matthias recommends using XTME.de which is similar to BookBub in functionality, with free and paid advertising opportunities. KDP Select is still worthwhile for the Kindle Owner's Lending Library (KOLL) which gives you a higher profile and visibility in the store, although not so much for the free days. There are fewer traditional publishers in the KOLL so it is a good option, and perhaps worth more than being on the Tolino. Book bloggers still favor print books from traditional publishing. You can also use social reading site LovelyBooks which is similar to Goodreads.
You can find out all the detail in Matthias' book, How to publish in Germany, available in English and German.
You can also find the results of an author survey and more information at his site Selfpublishingbibel.de/English
You can find Matthias on twitter @mmatting
Great podcast Jo! As a self-publisher in Australia I’d love to work with you about how we Aussies do things down here (without Anazon!) Seriously!
Thanks for the great post! I have worked with XinXii (xinxii.com) and I can highly recommend them not only for the German market but also internationally.
Hans Maerker says
That’s good to know, Ana. I was thinking about XinXii in more than one way. Mostly of course as an international platform for English content in Europe, but also because I’m German and don’t have any problems to self-publish in both languages.
Living in Europe but outside Germany, I depend on information and experience like yours. Thanks again 🙂
Thanks for this post. I’m looking into self publishing and would love to be able to reach readers worldwide. I had not heard of KoBo Writing Life.
Jean Kotzur says
I’m pleased to see that authors, outside the German Market, are discovering sales potential in the German speaking world. As an English person, who has lived for almost fifty years in the country and now has a German family in the second generation, I can assure you that education and qualifications are high on the agenda here. Reading is not just a pleasant hobby, but also considered to be a necessity in this country. My grandchildren, who are in high school, are now discovering the advantages of having an English grandmother, they have a living dictionary and helpline when the English grammar becomes difficult. The change to digital reading here has been slower than in other parts of the western world, but when something is accepted in this country it explodes. On top of everything else, the Germans have kept the ‘Bookshop’ alive through embracing digital products, but keeping print books for those who cannot, or will not, change their reading habits. Your website is one of a few that informs and educates in an intellectual and relaxed informative manner.
Ebook Bargains UK says
There s a British aggregator (open to authors and publishers anywhere) that will get you into 90% of the German ebook stores. They are Ebook Partnership – http://www.ebookpartnership.com
Ebook Partnership will get you into Sony Germany and Sony Austria (which Smashwords do not), into the ‘txtr Germany and ‘txtr Austria stores and the other sixteen ‘txtr stores, as well as Hugendubel, Weltbild, Der Club, Thalia, Bucher, Buch,de, Bol.de, Ciando and Bild, not to mentions Donauland in Austria.
Willy Grenz says
I am very exited to find your site that may help me publish my e-book which is currently available on Amazon (in English) but not yet in Germany (in German) and later perhaps in Russian. The book title is “Last Train from Hell” by Arthur Grenz and describes in riveting detail what it was like for a German protestant family to live under the last Czar and the Stalin and Hitler regimes.
It discloses horrific human rights violation previously not published anywhere. What can anyone do to help me with my objective?
Richard Belcher says
Great article! I’ll be sure to check all the mentioned sites and podcast.
I’d like to make a novel accessible via Audible, however, Audible informed me that I am not eligible, as I’m resident in Germany. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can publish my audiobook?
Die Produkttest Familie says
Very good article if you are new in selling to the german market!
We can help you to promote your products in Germany to our german audience by our website http://www.dieprodukttestfamilie.de So it will be more easy for you to get new customers.
If you need help to make your product or company known in Germany, let us know by contacting us. We speak english, so communicating will be easy for you with us.