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Non-English digital growth 'matches UK/US'
08.10.13 | Philip Jones
The digital adoption rate in non-English language markets where Amazon Kindle operates is matching that in the English-speaking world. This is according to Russ Grandinetti, vice-president for Kindle Content at Amazon, speaking to delegates at Publishers Launch held yesterday (Monday 7th October) on the eve of Frankfurt Book Fair.
Grandinetti also warned publishers about the "lost opportunities" of not having books in the Amazon POD programme, or available globally, even in markets where English is not the first language.
In a typically bullish but data-light speech, Grandinetti said that based on the early signs in Germany and Japan there was no reason why foreign-language markets would not follow similar growth curve to markets in the UK and US, where the growth in e-book sales on the Kindle quickly overtook the size of their more established print business. "I see very little that makes us think these countries are not tracking the same way relative to their market sizes as we have seen in the US, or the UK," he said.
Despite the strong digital growth, Grandinetti also said its print sales continued to grow in the US and UK, and said that at Frankfurt next year it would be the "exception" for a book buyer in the US not to buy online, while by Frankfurt 2015 it would be the exception in the UK.
This meant bookselling was fundamentally changing, and publishers needed to respond, he emphasised. "A publisher who does a business plan for an author and doesn't think about online first is doing a disservice to that author." And he warned that publishers needed to improve their quality control around e-books. "There are examples where if these were print books you'd call the trucks back," he said.
Otis Chandler, founder and chief executive of Goodreads, pointed to "social" as the next disruptor within the publishing business. "Social will create one of the biggest changes in publishing in the next five years, it will drive serendipitous discoverability. If done right it will match and surpass the physical experience of walking into a bookstore for one book and coming out with four."