While US consumers enjoy the variety and selection of titles and platforms for their digital reading, a handful of companies are actually doing well by expanding globally, bringing content and options to international markets. One such company, South Africa-based Snapplify, is doing more than just creating content for those markets, but is also focused on bringing that content to globally-minded US readers.
GoodEReader spoke with Snapplify’s CEO Wesley Lynch this week about what considerations are in place for customers, both stateside and abroad, for reading on the company’s new ePub3-compatible application, which now supports Arabic and Hebrew.
“We’re a little bit more than just the reader,” explained Lynch, “because we enable the in-app and out-of-app purchases, while handling the revenue collection for our clients. All of the revenue generated by African apps we have, from content produced and owned in Africa, provides a quick look at the revenue and where it’s coming from. We really are planning this global space. There’s a huge demand for niche content, but a lot of these niches are enormous.
“A lot of our clients are here with Egyptian content, and we do a lot of Arabic in ePub and PDF since foreign language has been big for us. There’s a huge demand for that content in foreign markets that aren’t easily accessible in languages.”
One of the areas of content that has been huge for Snapplify is in children’s content, especially from consumers living abroad who still want their children to have access to the childhood stories from their native countries.
“We see a lot in children’s literature, particularly in Indian content, from consumers who want their kids to read content that they grew up on, even when living abroad. The question was have to address is not how many tablets are there in Kenya, but how many Kenyans are there not in Kenya?”
Lynch’s statement might seem overreaching, but his sales data shows that this niche content really is making its way outside of the ebooks’ original geographic borders. While Snapplify estimates that 30% of the revenue generated on titles published in Africa comes from within the continent, the US is the next largest market for that same material, with 20% of sales on African content being bought by consumers living in the US.
“The moment you are displaced from your country, you become far more patriotic and you cling to your culture. There’s a greater demand for that content. Outsiders will pay more for the digital version than for the print version, because they can’t get it. There’s a small newspaper publication here that makes more in digital from the US customers than they do in print from their local subscribers. There’s immense opportunity for some of those markets and the demand for that content.”
While Snapplify’s capabilities have been good for foreign consumers, this global publishing reach has also had a strong impact on US consumers, as well as businesses outside the scope of publishing. Lynch recounted how one ebook on a very specific topic, South African wines, sold quite well to US audiences, leading to an increase in interest in vineyards from the area.
“That one publication on South African wines has meant a local vineyard has started exporting to the US due to the popularity of that book. The book sales have done well in the US, because in digital they were able to attract a niche they couldn’t have otherwise reached, but they’ve also seen an increase in wine sales.”
Moving forward, Snapplify will be unveiling a new version of its reader in the app markets within the next few days, as well as continuing its work in academic publishing, specifically in remaining available for low-end Android devices, popular among students in outlying regions for accessibility and affordability.