So its been a month since I managed to blog about something. Back then I wanted to do a post about how Amazon should finally open their Kindle store to the rest of the world … or at least to my neck of the woods, which happens to be Germany. There had been rumors for weeks that the opening was imminent.
And now, just before the Easter weekend, Amazon finally did it. They opened the Kindle Store to German users. 650,000 titles are now available to download, including 25,000 German titles … which is a number bound to increase. The majority of German book titles is not yet available in ebook format, but that will change if and when publishers convert their massive backlists.
Until now the German ebook market is just a footnote in the overall publishing industry. The last numbers I heard was 0.5% of the overall market. But now a big player has entered the market and I think, just as they took over the largest share of selling books online, Amazon will also take a large share of the ebook. But even more than that I think Amazon’s market entry will finally give the German ebook market the boost it needs to go real mainstream.
So far Apple has been No. 1 in the market, Thalia – one of the largest brick-n-mortar chains – is second. And Amazon was already third, whithout having a dedicated store and selling their devices from the US. Although I think just swapping out the $ sign for the € is a little too much (the Kindle 3 WiFi only on amazon.de costs 139€, which is about 200$), the Kindle devices will become the dominant reader in the market. Right now it is still the English version, but soon enough a dedicated German device will be sold.
Additionally, Amazon’s publishing platform also opened it’s doors for German-language authors. Time will tell if the self-publishing boom the US experienced the past few month will continue in Germany.