Google quietly launched a local ebookstore in Norway last week, ending a 6 month long drought. The new store sells ebooks in krone, and it has been customized for Norwegian (mostly):
This launch ended a 6 month period of me wondering what the bleep was going on with Google Play Books.
Last year Google was launching ebookstores left and right. Every month to 6 weeks Google would quietly add anywhere from five to a dozen local ebookstores to Google Play Books at a single go, but that ended in December 2013 with a push into Latin America.
They were up to 44 countries when their expansion stalled in December, making Norway the 45th country to have a local Google Play Books. I can’t tell you why Google stopped, but this was an issue which I was watching carefully and I was planning to comment on the stoppage at some point.
In Norway, Google faces local competitors as well as Amazon, Nook, and iBooks. (Amazon has not launched a local Kindle Store in Norway, but they do support the language.)
P.S. Does anyone know the size of the Norwegian ebook market, or who the leading ebook retailers are? I lack the info, and I would like to know.