Australian newspapers are reporting today the long-awaited launch of the Apple iBookstore in Australia. Nearly 10,000 Smashwords ebooks are included in the launch.
This is great news for Smashwords authors and publishers, who now gain access to the fast-growing Australian ebook market. In addition to Australia, Smashwords is an authorized Apple aggregator supplying Apple iBookstores in Canada, France, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S.
Just yesterday I returned from a five week speaking tour to Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. Unlike in the U.S., where ebooks now account for nearly 10 percent of the overall trade book market (and a greater percentage of unit volume), ebooks account for probably under one percent of the book markets in Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. In other words, these markets are where the U.S. market was at a mere two years ago. These markets are poised for similar or faster growth, especially as device makers such as Apple open ebook stores and expand the availability and selection of affordable ebooks.
The ebook market in Australia, as it is in Brazil and New Zealand, may grow even faster in than in the U.S. because the consumer economics are so much more compelling. Based on my visits to brick and mortar bookstores in Australia, print books routinely cost 50 percent more in Australia than they do in the U.S. With the advent of ebooks, book-hungry consumers can purchase ebooks at a fraction of the cost of print. The average Smashwords ebook costs only $4.75, for example.
The first authors and publishers who get their books listed in the store will gain a head start at building readership, sales, reviews, reader buzz and sales rank.
If you're a Smashwords Premium Catalog author and we already distribute your book to other Apple iBookstores, your books will automatically ship to the Australian iBookstore. Our first batch of over 9,300 ebooks has already started appearing on Australian iBookstore shelves today, and in the next couple weeks we'll add hundreds more.
If you're not yet a Smashwords author or publisher, learn how to distribute ebooks to international Apple iBookstores by reading our iPad Ebook Publishing Checklist. As an authorized Apple iBookstore aggregrator, Smashwords makes makes it fast, free and easy for any author or publisher, anywhere in the world, to quickly reach global readers through the iBookstore. Authors and publishers who distribute through Smashwords earn 60 percent of the retail price.
In addition to distributing ebooks to international Apple iBookstores, Smashwords also distributes to Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and the Diesel eBook Store, as well as to important mobile ebook apps including Aldiko for Android devices, and Stanza for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. We'll announce additional retail distribution outlets in the months ahead. Learn how to earn free access to our Smashwords Premium Catalog at our Smashwords Distribution Information Page.