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StreetLib - Africa's Digital Opportunity

Giac
March 30, 2019

StreetLib - Africa's Digital Opportunity

A 21st Century African Publishing Industry Needs 21st Century Global Solutions
By StreetLib.com and TheNewPublishingStandard.com

Giac

March 30, 2019
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  1. A 21st Century African Publishing Industry
    Needs 21st Century Global Solutions

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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.
    Global Book Market 2016 (1)
    Rest of the World
    71%
    Usa
    29%

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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 17% 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. 2016 2025
    400
    300
    200
    100
    0
    Global Book Market
    Growth
    2016-2025 $bn (3)
    143
    356

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  6. Predicting book market growth is not an exact science, so
    while we cannot take these predictions 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.

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  7. But digital will be the main driver of that growth.
    So where does that leave Africa?

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  8. 2016 2025
    1.5
    1
    0.5
    0
    Africa's book market could
    grow by 50% if we carry
    on as we are.
    1
    1.5
    Africa Book Market Growth
    2016-2025 $bn (4)

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  9. 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.

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  10. Here's what might happen if the African
    publishing industry actively
    embraced the digital opportunity

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  11. 2016 2025
    5
    4
    3
    2
    1
    0
    Africa Book Market Growth
    2016-2025 $bn (5)
    1
    5
    Imagine an Africa book
    market worth $5 billion.
    500% growth!

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  12. 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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  13. 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!

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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. Africa is massive.
    Truly massive.
    Africa is as big as the USA, China, India,
    Japan and all of Europe combined.

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  17. 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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  18. 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.

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  19. 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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  20. But people would read more if:
    they were offered free books to get them started and hook them on reading
    they were offered a better choice of books
    they were offered affordable books
    they were offered books in the language they speak at home
    they were offered comics and graphic novels
    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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  21. But all those options are viable across Africa
    with the digital model.
    Digital changes everything.

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  22. 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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  23. 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.
    Statista's 2019 forecast for the entire US ebook market is a valuation of $5.487 billion.
    (7)
    (6)

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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. In 2019 Storytel operates in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland,
    Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, India,
    United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Italy, Mexico and Bulgaria.
    It will launch in Brazil, Singapore and Germany shortly.
    Storytel expects to have over 1 million subscribers by end 2019. (9)
    Storytel is a digital audiobook and ebook
    subscription service based in Sweden.

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  27. 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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  28. 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 only at 35%! Why bother?

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

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  30. And here's what that means.

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  31. Statista forecasts 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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  32. All these African nations have more people
    online than New Zealand. (14)
    Angola
    7 million
    Cameroon
    6.1 million
    Côte d’Ivoire
    6.3 million
    D.R. Congo
    5 million
    Mozambique
    5.3 million
    Tunisia
    7.9 million
    Zambia
    7.2 million
    Zimbabwe
    6.8 million

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  33. Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Sudan (14)
    all have more people online than
    Sweden (15), the home of Storytel. 9.6 million
    10.1 million 12.5 million 9.7 million 11.8 million

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  34. Statista forecasts the Netherlands ebook market
    will be worth $94 million in 2019. (16)
    The Netherlands has 16.3 million
    people online. (15)
    Algeria and Ethiopia both have
    more. (14)
    Algeria
    21 million
    Ethiopia
    16.4 million

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  35. Statista forecasts the Australia ebook market
    will be worth $89 million in 2019. (17)
    Australia has 21.7 million people
    online. (13)
    Here's how Morocco, Tanzania
    and Uganda compare. (14)
    Morocco
    22.5 million
    Uganda
    19 million
    Tanzania
    23 million

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  36. Statista forecasts the Canada
    ebook market will be worth
    $521 million in 2019. (18)
    Canada has 33.2 million people online.
    (19) South Africa will soon have more
    people online than Canada.
    South Africa
    31.1 million and only at 34%
    internet penetration. (14)

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  37. Statista forecasts 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)

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  38. Statista forecasts 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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  39. Statista ebook market value forecasts 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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  40. Nigeria has more people online than
    France, Germany, the UK and even Russia!
    Nigeria has 111.6 million people online.
    Nigeria is the 7th largest country by internet users
    and will pass Japan to take 6th place by 2020.
    And it's still only at 55% internet penetration. (25)

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  41. Now let's take a step back and see the bigger picture.
    In the Year 2000 there were just 4.5 million Africans online.
    In 2019 there are 474 million. (14)
    474 million!

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  42. Now let's put that 474 million
    Africans online in context.
    (26)
    Africa
    Latin
    Am
    erica
    European
    U
    nion
    N
    orth
    Am
    erica
    U
    SA
    500
    400
    300
    200
    100
    0
    Internet Users
    474
    438
    433
    345
    312

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  43. And Africa is still only at 35.9% internet penetration.
    Which means there's still plenty of room to grow.
    The question is, by how much?

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  44. 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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  45. Taking smartphone growth, improved telecom
    infrastructure and falling internet prices together it's
    reasonable to predict the 10,000% growth we've seen
    between the year 2000-2018 will slow any time soo.
    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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  46. Africa 2018 Africa 2025
    800
    600
    400
    200
    0
    Internet Users Africa
    2018-2025
    465m
    800m

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  47. 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 Africa's very own
    AkooBooks. There are countless more.

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  48. 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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  49. Nana Gyan Apenteng, President of the Ghana Writers Association,
    famously said last year,
    "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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  50. 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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  51. Just easy and virtually free potential reach to the
    474 million Africans online today
    (800 million by 2025).
    And globally to more than 4 billion
    potential customers (over 5 billion by 2025)
    who are going online daily around the world.

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  52. 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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  53. That is the
    African publishing industry's
    digital opportunity.

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  54. Sources
    1) https://thenewpublishingstandard.com/global-book-market-valued-at-143bn/
    4) TNPS analysis
    5) TNPS analysis
    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
    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/
    3) https://thenewpublishingstandard.com/africas-book-industry-worth-1-billion-growing-6-despite-piracy-
    challenges/

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  55. 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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  56. 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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  57. Giacomo D'Angelo
    CEO at StreetLib
    www.streetlib.com
    [email protected]
    Mark Williams, Editor-in-Chief TNPS
    Director of Communication at StreetLib
    www.thenewpublishingstandard.com
    [email protected]

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