Paid Content’s Laura Hazard Owen is currently in Germany for the Frankfurt Book Fair. Earlier this morning she filed a brief post about the changes Barnes & Noble and Kobo are experiencing as they continue moving their retail operations abroad.
Apparently Michael Tamblyn, Kobo’s EVP of content sales and merchandising, had some interesting (and especially wise) tips to share with his audience: Partnering with local bookstore chains has been central to Kobo’s international strategy, he said. “The infrastructure of selling e-books is a global endeavor,” he added, “but bookselling is fundamentally a local experience.”
Here’s another interesting tidbit about Kobo’s international strategy; the following words are Owen’s:
As Kobo chose the countries it wanted to expand to, it looked at several factors, Tamblyn said: literacy, disposable income, reading market size, internet availability, WiFi availability, availability of digital content, and local partners.
While North American and many European countries fit those requirements, after that, markets become more fragmented and smaller. “The fiction-driven ebook market we’ve become very used to through North America and Europe is not going to remain the prominent theme for selling outside of those markets,” Tamblyn said. Rather, as digital reading expands to countries like Brazil, Russia, India and China, expect to see “more educational-instructional content” and a greater role for independent players.
* * *