The Czech Republic’s first ebook subscription service

Back in early September, before The New Publishing  Standard went live, news broke that the publisher and distributor Euromedia was looking to buy the Czech bricks and mortar bookstore chain and online book and ebook retailer Neoluxor.
The move is on hold pending a review by the Czech competition authorities so I’d been waiting for the outcome, but as Porter Anderson is running the story over at Publishing Perspectives today, time to add to the tale here before reporting on the new Czech ebook subscription service, Bookport.

In June Euromedia bought the Folio bookstore distributor and bookseller Bookretail which runs the e-shop Levneucebnice.czexplaining at the time,

Euromedia Group’s portfolio expansion is responding to the growing trend of moving sales from the bookstore to the internet while also gaining a new book segment,

so there was no surprise when Neoluxor found itself an acquisition target in September.

Neoluxor is not just the leading bricks & mortar book retailer in the Czech Republic but owns what is regarded as the largest bookstore in central Europe, the Palac Knih.

Neoluxor flagship bookstore in Prague. Source CIJ Europe

Porter Anderson has more details about the Euromedia move over at Publishing Perspectives, but for me the more interesting story here is the way the central and east European book markets are developing.

The Czech Republic’s first ebook subscription service, Bookport, has just launched, offering access to 3,500 Czech titles for a subscription of 199 crowns a month.

Grada, the publisher behind the subscriptions service, cites Netflix as its inspiration, and is looking to make available ebooks from other publishers alongside its own titles. Czech publishers Galén, Portál, Vyšehrad, and Epocha are said to be on board.

Bookport ebook subscription service, Czech Republic.

Hospodářské Noviny reported in October 2016 that preliminary figures from the Association of Czech Booksellers and Publishers showed e-book sales rose by just 11 percent on the previous year to total 118 million crowns, amounting to 2% of the overall book market in the country

For Czech readers wanting ebooks, the Amazon Kindle store isn’t a realistic option, with whispernet surcharges imposed for those that try to buy from Amazon US. It’s a similar story across much of Europe apart from the handful of Kindle countries (UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands and associated access-allowed territories such as Belgium, Switzerland, Austria).

Notwithstanding the impressive revenue increases reported this past quarter by Amazon, behind the gloss and fanfare about the just-announced big revenue jump for Amazon lies a $936 million loss on its international endeavours. This following a $724 loss last quarter, a $481 loss in the quarter before that, and a $487 loss before that.

There seems little sign that Amazon will be looking to move into the central and east European book markets any time soon, which perhaps engenders the confidence we are now seeing as markets like the Czech Republic consolidate.




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