The Next Ebook Frontiers: China, Russia, India

The best places for publishers to expand their international ebook businesses next year may be China, Russia and India.

“The next frontiers are China, Russia and India — all of the places we’re looking out to now where ebooks haven’t penetrated yet,” said Kobo director of merchandising Nathan Maharaj on a Digital Book World webcast today.

While those markets aren’t as mature as in the UK, France, Germany and other Western European countries, they represent the best opportunities for growth in the future. India, especially, has been identified as a ripe opportunity for U.S.-based ebook publishers because of its large English-speaking population and its adoption rate for e-reading.

Markets like India and China, however, offer publishers a pricing problem; namely, how low do you price the ebooks there.

“India has a tradition of lower pricing,” said Ruediger Wischenbart, a content and publishing consultant based in Vienna, who also gave a presentation in the webcast.

It might be hard to price an ebook at the equivalent of $1.00 or $2.00 if it would cost closer to $10.00 in the U.S., but it might be what the market is doing.

“See what customers are paying there for best-sellers,” said Maharaj.



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