September 1, 2011

Asia Books Ramps Up eBook Store in Thailand

For those of us trying to break into the ever-expanding Asian eBook marketplace, it is unfortunate that Amazon still has an idiotic policy of slapping an extra $2 surcharge on eBooks purchased internationally. My Thai friends think I'm a real ass, because I tell them that America Goes On is just $0.99, but it shows up as $2.99 on their Amazon page. So thank heavens for Asiabooks, which is Thailand's largest provider of English-language publications.

Their eBook store is still in the early stages, and they do not have an online platform for self-publishing yet. However, you can contact them with your metadata and a signed contract, and they will sell your eBook with a 50% royalty at their store. I haven't tried it out yet, but it sounds promising. The formats they sell are PDF and EPUB, and I noticed in the FAQ that you can now make them DRM-free, which is advised since DRM sucks.

Today's article about Asiabooks in the Bangkok Post pretty much reads like a press release, a common problem with business journalism in Thailand. However, it offers some interesting information for the self-publisher looking to expand into Asia:
"[Amazon] is the new business model for Asia Books as Berli Jucker wants to benefit from our bookstores' locations," said Sirote Jiraprayoon, the managing director of Asia Books.

"From now on, our mindset in doing business will change. More products like iPads, smartphones, educational toys and lifestyle items will be available in our bookshops. We've reached a turning point."
Berli Jucker is run by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, a self-made billionaire who pretty much owns most of Bangkok. The man is an entrepreneurial genius, so if anyone can get the eBook marketplace going in Thailand, it's him. I'm going to attempt to contact Asiabooks in an attempt to self-publish, and I'll let you know how that process goes.

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