Kobo, and another two big players, landed in Brazil
December 5th, 7:00pm. Kobo lands in Brazil in a partnership with Livraria Cultura, one of the best bookstores in the country and a pioneer on the online book sales business. The launch was at Livraria Cultura’s main store, in the heart of São Paulo – a wonderful building where, years ago, three movie theater exhibition rooms were standing, at Paulista Avenue. The bookstore was crowded, with lots of people browsing for the Kobo Touch eReader and listening to a reading section with famous actors and actresses reading their favorite books on Kobo devices. The company announced yesterday almost 9k titles available and according to Camila Cabete, Kobo Publishers Relation Brazil, publishers are converting pBooks into eBooks faster everyday.
Comparing to the US, that is nothing, but these are only ePub digital books. In Brazil, including PDF files – that some Publishers produced in the beginning of their digitizing process – there are about 16k titles. But the number is growing fast. Greg Bateman, an expert on the digital book world, columnist at PublishNews and founder of Hondana, a “digital books” service provider based in São Paulo, told me yesterday that his company is converting/producing between 200 and 300 titles a week during these last months of the year.
And that was the beginning of the race where the three biggest eBook sellers in the world, at this moment, are running in Brazil. Almost 5 hours later, to be more specific at 11:50pm, Google launched its eBookstore on Google Play Brasil. And at 00:20, Amazon, after I don’t know how many postpones, finally released its Brazilian eBookstore. [**p.s.: both companies announced 13k titles in Portuguese. But remember, Google includes PDF files and Amazon is a proprietary format]
Of course at this point I need to mention that last October – so, less than 2 months ago – Apple opened its “Brazilian” iBookstore. Brazilian in between quotes because the store has Brazilian books but it is an US store; so if a Brazilian wants to buy a book, needs an international credit card and the prices are in US dollars. And there are some taxes issues (in Brazil books are tax free!) that you can read more about it on PublishNews Brazil.
Well, I need to confess: I was really skeptical about Amazon and Google arriving to Brazil this year. And right now my feeling is that their move was made only because Kobo did it first and they didn’t want to give competition too much advantage on the eBook race in Brazil. Anyway, the drivers have already started their engines, their machines are running – not as much loud as they (and some of us) would like – and… They’ve just received the green flag! The race is on!