Back in August I said how pleased I was to report that we were starting to see sales of ebooks in countries outside Norrth America. The cost of shipping printed books has always been a major obstacle to sales outside North America, but ebooks change that.
This week I received preliminary sales reports for two of the larger ebook sellers. While the reports are preliminary and the final reports from these vendors may change a little, one data point stood out: international sales (sales in countries other than the US and Canada) were reported from a lot more places than I had seen in previous months.
I had been keeping a little list of the countries involved and it stood at nine after the August reports came in. So I added the new countries to the list, and it now stands at 31 countries, ranging from Estonia and the Russian Federation to Brazil and Uruguay, and to Zimbabwe, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates.
The number of ebooks sold in any one country remains small when compared to North American sales, but I suspect that will change as more local ebook stores in those countries are adding our books to their lists, and the big online vendors like Amazon, Apple, and Kobo are rapidly opening local web stores around the world.
Last month I told our authors that we were seeing some growth in ebook unit sales, but we were having to work from reports which take 90 days or longer to arrive in final form, so our November royalty reports were (frustratingly, to me) based on end of summer sales.
The good news is that the two provisional reports I saw this week reveal a fast-changing picture. Unit sales for one of the large sellers in September were eight times their August sales. In dollar terms this one vendor’s September sales were greater than the top five vendors combined in August.