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Publetariat Dispatch: Why People Buy Ebooks: A Comparison Between Countries And Kindle Marketing Techniques

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!

In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, indie author and publishing consultant Joanna Penn discusses how cultural differences can impact ebook sales.

So I’ve just moved from Australia to England and it’s fascinating to me how different ebook and Kindle sales are here, on the other side of the world, albeit in a similar culture. In the video I explain the different reasons to buy ebooks in Australia vs UK, and there is text below.

In Australia, the Kindle justifies itself on the price of books. A brand new print book is usually $30-$40 and a Kindle book $11 – so you can read 3x as many Kindle books and indeed, I found getting a Kindle reinvigorated my fiction reading amazingly after years of being very careful about what I bought because of the cost. So that was my main argument to people – it’s worth it for the money.

Here it is a very different matter. For a start, there is VAT on ebooks and not on print books. I am astounded at this and just can’t understand it. This means that ebooks can be more expensive than their print counterparts. In fact, you can usually buy 3 books for the price of 2, or get amazing deals in Waterstones etc that mean ebooks are not worth it on price.

So Amazon are selling on other factors. There are posters on the London underground, in the weekend papers – they are everywhere. The Kindle is sold at Tesco, a large supermarket, similar to Walmart. So what are these factors that potentially deal with the price issue?

  • Speed and choice. Think of a book and start reading it in 60 seconds. This is indeed a marvel and I often take the Kindle to bookshops, browse and then buy on the Kindle. Super-duper.
  • Weight. This is the going on holiday, oversize luggage question. Travelling in Europe is very cheap with base costs very low and then heavy charges for luggage. If you want to read 6 books on holiday, that’s a lot of excess luggage. The Kindle solves that problem.
  • Space. Londoners don’t have much living space, and the UK is a densely populated country. If you have thousands of books, that is a lot of living space taken up, but the Kindle solves that problem.

They also mention the 3G wireless with no contract and the long battery life, now nearly a month.

I would add sampling which adds a lot to my life, and the fact I can switch between books as I travel. I am now commuting 45 mins each way on the London Underground and with a loaded up Kindle, I am never without something to escape into. Yes, I am still a die-hard Kindle fan!

How are ebooks and devices being marketed in your country? Why have you bought one – or why haven’t you?


This is a repost from Joanna Penn‘s The Creative Penn.

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