Kindle’s advertising installation in China

KindleChinaAd

This image was recently published by Kindle China as a promotion. It was taken in a subway station in Shanghai, where Kindle China has installed a huge row of shelves full of books, supposedly behind glass so that none would be taken.

The Chinese advertisement roughly translates as something as, “Would you like to own all these titles and enjoy the pleasure of reading them anytime, anywhere? With one Kindle Paperwhite, you could establish your own mobile library.”

According to a media report in November 2013, Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Fire entered the Chinese market in mid-2013 and their sales had “exceeded expectations”.

The report, by the Southern China Morning Post, quotes the vice president of Amazon’s Kindle operations in China as saying that “the Chinese Kindle store would continue to grow, with a projected offering of over 100,000 titles available in 2014”. That figure stood at 60,000 in November 2013.

Unfortunately, this is a market strictly for those ebooks published in China, i.e. those that have been approved by the Chinese government. At this stage there is still no Amazon-style self-publishing in that country. Anyone who wants to publish in the Chinese market has to do so either by being picked up by a local publisher or by collaborating with one (therefore submitting to their government assessment).

Authors outside of China please take note: Your titles being published via Amazon’s various platforms in the West does NOT mean that they are directly available to readers via Kindle China.

With that said, as readers in China can download free Kindle reading software in the same way that their Western counterparts do, as long as your titles are readable in Chinese, they have a good chance to reach the Chinese market.

(It is worth noting here that according to Amazon, Kindle does not support Chinese fonts. This is not true, as anyone who has gone through the Kindle Direct Publishing process can tell you – Chinese characters read beautifully on Kindle. Problem is, apart from Kindle China, Amazon does not provide any platform elsewhere in the world that allows direct promotion and sales of Kindle books in Chinese.)

So what does that leave to authors in the West who would like to promote their titles as Chinese ebooks? Answer: All you need is to have your titles translated into Chinese and a platform to promote them in Kindle-compatible formats. As long as Chinese readers can pay for these ebook files (which can be done now via PayPal), they will be happy to purchase and read them – even if it requires them to climb over the Great Chinese Firewall. Particularly in the case of the Chinese, as long as there is a will, there is a way.

And there are those Chinese readers outside of China to consider – they are comparatively more used to the presence of Amazon and its considerable influence over the world’s literary markets. Good titles in Chinese, readable in Kindle-compatible formats, are definitely attractive, both to those Kindle owners and those who use free Kindle reading software on their preferred desktops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones. So, what are you waiting for?

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