Google Play Books Expands into Turkey, South Africa, and Switzerland

Google Play Books Expands into Turkey, South Africa, and Switzerland eBookstore Google Google Books Google has quietly launched Google Play Books in 3 new countries today.

Readers in Switzerland, Turkey, and South Africa can now buy ebooks. As always, ebook selection and pricing will differ from country to country, and it is not completely clear just how many titles are available.

This latest news follows previous expansions in September, July, and June and brings the total number of countries supported by GPB to 39. Their rate of expansion is accelerating, with 22 countries added since June.

That is both better and worse than Amazon, which sells ebooks in 170 countries but only has local ebookstores in fewer than 20, most of which are in Europe. Speaking of Amazon, today's news has guaranteed that Amazon will also launch a local Kindle Store in South Africa, just like I predicted back in September.

Three of Amazon's competitors are already set up in the country (Kobo, iBooks, and GPB), and at least 2 of them sell ebooks there. Apple expanded iBooks to include South Africa in October 2012, and Kobo signed a local retail partner shortly after that.

Amazon is going to launch a local Kindle Store in South Africa some time in the next 6 months, I think.

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Nate Hoffelder

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Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

6 Comments

  1. Ebook Bargains UK10 November, 2013

    Amazon’s ebook sales to 170 countries may coincide with Amazon’s claims, but has little bearing on geographical reality and even less on ebook reach.

    Amazon’s acclaimed list of countries includes such gems as Gibraltar and the Isle of Man, and European principalities like Monaco and San Marino.

    The Isle of Man and Gibraltar are no more countries than Hawaii or Rhode Island, and the European principalities can boast populations comparable to an American shopping mall on a quite weekend.

    A Kindle South Africa site would certainly be a bonus, but quite how this news guarantees Amazon will follow suit escapes me. On that logic Amazon will presumably also be launching in Turkey and Switzerland, and of course Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and all the other places GooglePlay is blazing a trail in.

    South African and Australian Kindle sites would make economic sense, because the English language countries can at least give Amazon a good ebook numbers kick-start thanks to the numerous indie titles with world rights, in English, at cheap prices which Amazon can use to beat GooglePlay. For now.

    But GP will soon have its own self-pub portal (in theory indies can upload direct now, but it’s a nightmare), as will ‘txtr.

    ‘Txtr by the way also have a South African ebook site.

    And of course within a digital stone’s throw of South Africa we have a lot more English-speaking countries in southern Africa who may not be buying Kindles or Kobo devices but are most certainly reading on smartphones and tablets.

    So far talk of “sub-Saharan Africa” from GP and Kobo seems to mean just South Africa (it’s doubtful Amazon know where the Sahara is), but there are huge untapped markets for ebooks across the African continent, and the colonial history means English and French cover pretty much all bases.

    If Kobo and GooglePlay are not in Nigeria before end 2014 I shall be very surprised. Further I would hope and expect GooglePlay to take full advantage of its unrivalled international brand recognition to have ebook stores across Arab-speaking North Africa and in at least a dozen or so key sub-Saharan countries like Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder10 November, 2013

      “A Kindle South Africa site would certainly be a bonus, but quite how this news guarantees Amazon will follow suit escapes me. On that logic Amazon will presumably also be launching in Turkey and Switzerland, and of course Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and all the other places GooglePlay is blazing a trail in.”

      Nope.

      Amazon doesn’t support Turkish or Arabic in KDP, so a Kindle store in Turkey is unlikely. Also, the last time I checked Amazon doesn’t even sell Kindle ebooks in Turkey (it’s one of a long list of Muslim nations where Amazon won’t sell ebooks) so until they shift that policy a local Kindle store is impossible.

      But Amazon does support Afrikaans in KDP, so now that their competition is present in South Africa Amazon will follow.

      And as for Switzerland, Amazon recently added support for Romansch, the 4th official language of Switzerland. So a local Kindle Store is a possibility.

      Reply
      1. Ebook Bargains UK17 November, 2013

        “…(Turkey is) one of a long list of Muslim nations where Amazon won’t sell ebooks…”

        Can you clarify that comment, Nate?

        It suggests that Amazon has an official policy of not selling ebooks to Muslim nations, which hopefully is not at all what you meant, although would be a curious coincidence if it just happened to be that way.

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder17 November, 2013

          Check out the map of where Amazon sells Kindle ebooks:
          http://www.macstories.net/stories/mapping-the-entertainment-ecosystems-of-apple-microsoft-google-amazon/

          It’s somewhat out of date, but if you look at the swath across northern Africa and southern Asia you might notice that a number of countries have something in common.

          Just to be clear, I’m not saying that Amazon refuses to sell ebooks in these countries because they’re Muslim; it is more likely due to issues which we can’t even guess at. But it was a convenient label to describe them, even if it is wrong.

          Reply
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