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Ghana International Book Fair 2019 - exploring the digital opportunity

Giac
August 31, 2019

Ghana International Book Fair 2019 - exploring the digital opportunity

Ghana International Book Fair 2019 - exploring the digital opportunity

Ghana:
- 11.7 million people online
- 39% internet penetration

By StreetLib.com and TheNewPublishingStandard.com

Giac

August 31, 2019
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  1. Ghana International Book Fair 2019
    - exploring the digital opportunity -
    11.7 million people online
    39% internet penetration

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  2. The Global Book Market was worth
    $143 billion in 2016.
    The good news?
    71% of that was outside the USA.
    USA 29%
    Rest of the World 71%
    Global Book Market 2016 (1)

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  3. The bad news?
    Less than 1% of that was Africa.
    Global Book Market 2016 (2)
    Rest of the World
    99%
    AFRICA
    1%

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  4. It's not that a $1 billion Africa book market is unimpressive.
    But it's less than 1% of the global book market, despite
    Africa having around 20% of the world's population.
    The good news is, both the global book market and the Africa book
    market are growing fast.
    Let's take a closer look.

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  5. (3)

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  6. Predicting book market growth is not an exact science, so while we
    cannot take these forecasts as gospel, we can take them as indicative.
    Most of the growth will be happening outside the USA. China and India
    will account for much of it, as will the rest of the world.
    Including Africa.
    But digital will be the main driver of that growth.
    So where does that leave Africa?

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  7. Africa's book market could grow by 50% if we carry on as we are.
    (4)

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  8. But it's 2019, not 2009.
    Carrying on as we are while the rest of the
    global publishing industry embraces digital
    and leaves us behind is not an option.
    Africa's children deserve better.
    Ghana's children deserve better.
    Here's what might happen if the African publishing industry
    actively embraced the digital opportunity.

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  9. Imagine an Africa book market worth $5 billion.
    (5)

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  10. To understand why such growth is possible with digital we need first
    to understand why the Africa book market is so under-developed
    today.
    For brevity, and to distinguish it from the digital opportunity, I'll refer
    to the current model as the analogue model.
    It's not strictly scientific but will help keep the two models clear in our
    mind.

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  11. The "analogue publishing model" is the one we all
    know and love.
    Beautiful printed books on paper.
    We all love printed books! Don't see this as an anti-print diatribe!
    But... Printed books are expensive to produce,
    expensive to distribute, and expensive to store.
    And if that's true of mature, wealthy book markets like the USA, how much more so in
    Africa?

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  12. Why is the Africa book market so under-developed?
    History is partly to blame.
    Colonialism and the post-colonial legacy, of course.
    And many missed opportunities since.
    But we can't rewrite history, so let's move on.

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  13. Africa is massive.
    Truly massive.
    Africa is as big as the USA,
    China, India, Japan and all of
    Europe combined.

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  14. It's such a vast continent that it's no wonder it's not been possible to
    develop a pan-African publishing industry.
    The cold reality is that it's easier for a publisher in Kenya or Benin to sell a
    book in the USA or France than it is to sell the same book in neighbouring
    Tanzania or Togo. Or even to different parts of the same country.
    But we can't change the size of Africa, so let's move on.

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  15. Low literacy levels across the African continent have held back the
    publishing industry, of course. Low literacy equals low book sales.
    More books in schools will encourage children to read.
    But many schools only have text books.
    Very few children have books at home.
    Many people who can read do not do so.
    Books are expensive and the few books that are available do not
    excite them.

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  16. But people would read more if:
    a) they were offered free books to get them started and hook them on reading
    b) they were offered a better choice of books
    c) they were offered affordable books
    d) they were offered books in the language they speak at home
    e) they were offered comics and graphic novels
    f) they were offered books they could listen to
    Under the analogue publishing model none of those are
    viable options at scale across Africa.

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  17. But all those options are viable across Africa
    with the digital model.
    Digital changes everything.

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  18. Digital changes everything?
    That's a bold statement. But true.
    While African publishers have (mostly) been looking the other
    way, publishers in the rest of the world have been
    enjoying the benefits of digital books for over a decade.

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  19. Statista reports that in 2017 in the USA the trade ebook market
    alone saw 266 million sales and was worth $1.02 billion -
    equivalent to the entire African book market. (6)
    Statista's 2019 forecast for the entire US ebook market is a valuation
    of $5.487 billion. (7)

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  20. Digital library supplier Rakuten OverDrive delivers ebooks and digital audiobooks to
    consumers in the US and globally.
    In 2018 OverDrive handled 277 million digital book downloads. That's 750,000
    every day.
    185 million ebooks and 88 million audiobooks were borrowed from OverDrive
    libraries in 2018. (8)

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  21. Tiny Singapore - population 5.6 million - was among
    65 libraries worldwide that saw
    over 1 million digital book downloads.
    In Canada - population 33 million - over
    5.6 million digital books were borrowed from the
    Toronto library in 2018.

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  22. In 2019 Storytel operates in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland,
    Iceland, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, India,
    United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Italy, Mexico, Bulgaria,
    Singapore, Germany and Colombia.
    It will launch in Brazil, South Korea and likely Thailand this year.
    Storytel has over 1 million subscribers. (9)
    Storytel is a digital audiobook and ebook
    subscription service based in Sweden.

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  23. In China ebooks and online literature is big business.
    In 2017 the Chinese media giant Tencent spun off its ebook arm
    China Literature in an IPO worth $1 billion - equivalent to the entire
    African book market. (10)

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  24. There are countless more examples, but let's address
    the BIG problem with all this.
    We're talking about Africa.
    There's hardly anyone online here!
    Internet penetration is less than 40%!
    Why bother?

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  25. Here's why: This is the 2018 map of submarine internet cables
    connecting Africa with the world.
    (11)

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  26. And that's before this new Equiano cable -
    - goes live in the early 2020s.

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  27. Nana Gyan Apenteng, President of the Ghana Writers
    Association, famously said in 2018,
    "Of course, we would all claim that we are reading on our phones
    but that is largely untrue…unless reading WhatsApp messages can
    be described as reading."
    Yet in the rest of the world readers are lapping up digital books
    alongside WhatsApp messages and, yes, alongside print books.

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  28. China Literature understands the potential of Africa and has
    partnered with smartphone-maker Transsion.
    Transsion said: “The circulation of digital reading in Africa is still in its
    early days and presents huge opportunities. We have noticed increasing
    demand for online reading content from our African mobile users."

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  29. Okay, now to look at some real numbers to put
    Africa's potential in perspective.

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  30. Statista predicts the New Zealand ebook market will be
    worth $37 million in 2019. (12)
    New Zealand's online population?
    4.2 million. (13)

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  31. All these African nations have more people
    online than New Zealand. (14)
    Angola
    7.0 million
    Cameroon
    6.1 million
    Côte d’Ivoire
    11.1 million
    D.R. Congo
    5.3 million
    Mozambique
    6.5 million
    Tunisia
    7.9 million
    Zambia
    7.2 million
    Zimbabwe
    8.4 million

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  32. Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Sudan (14) all have more people
    online than Sweden (15), the home of Storytel.
    9.7 million
    11.7 million 12.5 million 9.7 million 13.7 million

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  33. Statista predicts the Netherlands ebook market will be worth
    $94 million in 2019. (16)
    The Netherlands has 16.4 million people online. (15)
    Algeria and Ethiopia both have more. (14)
    Algeria
    21.0 million
    Ethiopia
    20.5 million

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  34. Statista predicts the Australia ebook market will be worth
    $89 million in 2019. (17)
    Australia has 21.7 million people online.(13)
    Here's how Morocco and Uganda compare. (14)
    Morocco
    22.6 million
    Uganda
    19 million

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  35. Statista predicts the Canada ebook market will be worth
    $521 million in 2019. (18)
    Canada has 33.2 million people online. (19)
    South Africa is now ahead of Canada with 33.6 million people online.
    South Africa is only at 56.2% internet penetration. (14)

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  36. Statista predicts the Spain ebook market will be worth
    $135 million in 2019. (20)
    Spain has 42.9 million people online. (15)
    Kenya
    43.3 million (14)
    Tanzania
    43.6 million (14)

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  37. Statista predicts the Italy ebook market will be worth
    $128 million in 2019. (21)
    Italy has 54.8 million people online. (15)
    Egypt
    49.2 million. (14)

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  38. Statista ebook market value predictions for 2019
    France $533 m
    (22)
    France has
    60.4 million online
    Germany $294 m
    (23)
    Germany has
    72.3 million online
    UK $820 m
    (24)
    UK has
    63 million online (15)

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  39. Nigeria has more people online than
    France, Germany, the UK or Russia!
    Nigeria has 119 million people online.
    Nigeria is the 6th largest country in the world
    by internet users.
    And it's still only at 59.5% internet penetration. (25)

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  40. Now let's take a step back and see the bigger picture.
    In the Year 2000 there were just
    4.5 million Africans online.
    Today there are 525 million. (14)
    Over half a billion Africans are online!!!

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  41. Now let's put that 525 million Africans online in context.
    (26)

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  42. And Africa is still only at 39.5% internet penetration.
    Which means there's still plenty of room to grow.
    The question is, by how much?
    Internet take-up is closely correlated to smartphone use.
    (And smartphones are great for ebooks and digital audiobooks!)
    Here's how Africa's smartphone future looks.

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  43. (27)

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  44. Taking smartphone growth, improved telecom infrastructure and
    falling internet prices together it's reasonable to predict the
    growth (10,000% between the year 2000-2018) will not stop
    soon.
    Given the close correlation of smartphone growth to date it's
    reasonable to assume that by 2025 we could be looking at 800
    million Africans online. (28)

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  45. View Slide

  46. In this brief overview I've had to leave out much more than I've been
    able to include.
    No mention here of Amazon's ebook subscription service Kindle
    Unlimited, or Scribd (which earlier this year topped 1 million
    subscribers) or 24Symbols or Legimi or....
    I touched on Storytel but didn't mention other audiobook services like
    Audible, Ubook, Booklava, Kitab Sawti, and Ghana's very own
    AkooBooks. There are countless more.

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  47. Nor is digital limited to text and audio.
    Digital comics are big business around the world.
    Then there's cookery books, photography...
    And there are countless new digital variants emerging that give
    publishers more reach,
    more revenue and more possibilities.

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  48. It's not an either / or debate. Printed books and comics and their
    digital counterparts can comfortably co-exist.
    And best of all, digital is language agnostic. Digital books, comics
    and audio can be created in all Africa's myriad and beautiful
    languages, and distributed to eager readers in huge cities,
    suburban townships and, just as easily, in the remotest villages.
    No minimum print runs. No expensive printing. No costly
    distribution to a handful of bookstores. No remainders.

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  49. Just easy and virtually free potential reach to the
    525 million Africans online today
    (800 million by 2025).
    And globally to more than 4.3 billion
    potential customers (over 7 billion by 2025)
    who are going online daily around the world.

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  50. Digital is an opportunity not just for publishers but for a raft
    of industries that revolve around publishing.
    From content creators to librarians to educationalists to the
    creative industries like film and television. Just look at the way
    books are driving TV and film production globally.
    Digital publishing will not just benefit publishers, but will
    power the African economy.

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  51. That is the African
    publishing industry's
    digital opportunity.

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  52. And that is the Ghana
    publishing industry's
    digital opportunity.

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  53. A reminder: Statista forecasts the New Zealand ebook
    market will be worth $37 million in 2019. (12)
    New Zealand's online population? 4.2 million. (13)
    With 11.7 million internet users Ghana
    has almost three times the online population
    of New Zealand.

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  54. A reminder: Sweden the home of digital audiobook
    company Storytel, has just 9.7 million people online.
    Yet is has 400,000 subscribers in Sweden and over one
    million worldwide.
    With 11.7 million internet users Ghana
    already has two million more people online than
    Sweden, and is only at 39% internet penetration.

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  55. Imagine where Ama Dadson's AkooBooks Audio
    might be in ten years time if Ghana's and Africa's
    publishers were to embrace the digital opportunity.

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  56. It's not an either/or choice.
    A hybrid print and digital model is the preferred option
    for most publishers, letting them
    enjoy the best of both worlds.
    Check out our bi-weekly newsletter Publish Africa to see
    how publishers around the world are benefitting.

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  57. https://www.streetlib.com/publishafrica

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  58. https://www.streetlib.com/ghana

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  59. https://www.streetlib.com
    Can we help?
    Based in Italy, StreetLib is a global digital content aggregator
    and publishing facilitator working with publishers
    large and small around the world.
    We can help you get started with digital or help you expand
    your existing digital reach.
    Visit our website or email us to explore the possibilities.

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  60. Sources.
    1 https://thenewpublishingstandard.com/global-book-market-valued-at-143bn/
    2 https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-publishing-market-2018-2022-market-will-
    register-a-revenue-of-approx-usd-356-billion---rise-in-number-of-independent-and-self-published-
    authors-300665770.html
    3 https://thenewpublishingstandard.com/africas-book-industry-worth-1-billion-growing-6-despite-
    piracy-challenges/
    4 TNPS analysis
    5 TNPS analysis
    6 https://www.statista.com/topics/1474/e-books/
    7 https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/109/ebooks/united-states
    8 https://thenewpublishingstandard.com/2018-750000-digital-book-downloads-day-went-
    uncounted-nielsen-bookscan-data-guys-bookstat-fuelling-nonsense-people-reading-less/

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  61. 9 https://thenewpublishingstandard.com/storytel-q4-report-subscribers-up-44-yy-
    streaming-sales-up-38-targets-1-1-million-subscribers-by-end-2019/
    10 https://thenewpublishingstandard.com/tencents-china-literature-ipo-the-biggest-in-a-
    decade/
    11 https://manypossibilities.net/african-undersea-cables/
    12 https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/161/ebooks/new-zealand
    13 https://www.internetworldstats.com/stats6.htm
    14 https://www.internetworldstats.com/stats1.htm
    15 https://www.internetworldstats.com/stats9.htm
    16 https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/144/ebooks/netherlands
    17 https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/107/ebooks/australia
    18 https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/108/ebooks/canada
    19 https://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm
    20 https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/153/ebooks/spain

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  62. 21 https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/141/ebooks/italy
    22 https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/136/ebooks/france
    23 https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/137/ebooks/germany
    24 https://www.statista.com/outlook/213/156/ebooks/united-kingdom
    25 https://www.internetworldstats.com/top20.htm

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  63. Giacomo D'Angelo - CEO StreetLib
    www.streetlib.com
    [email protected]
    Mark Williams - Editor-in-Chief TNPS
    www.thenewpublishingstandard.com
    [email protected]

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