Bookmate, an ebook subscription platform serving emerging digital markets including Russia, Ukraine, and Singapore, announced yesterday that it is expanding its library of English language content. The service signed deals with six ebook aggregators -- Ingram, ePubDirect, Diversion Books, Head of Zeus, Legend Press, and Casemate -- to grow its English language collection to over 200,000 titles. This complements the several thousand English language books HarperCollins added to Bookmate last year.
Bookmate is an ebook subscription platform that is bringing paid access to heavily pirated ebook markets such as Russia and the Ukraine. The subscription platform is available on all devices and operating platforms, allowing users to access books for roughly $4 a month.
Although much of BookExpo America's discourse seemed colored by the ongoing Amazon-Hachette dispute, there were a number of events that exuded optimism and excitement for the future. Among these was the Startup Challenge, a competition that highlighted the innovation of 18 startups hoping to make their mark on the publishing industry.
Bookmate has gained attention recently as the e-book subscription app grows overseas.
It seems that readers aren’t the only ones to notice the Russian-based company. Bookmate won the Digital Minds Innovation Award at the London Book Fair last week. Hundreds of companies were in the running for the award, but Bookmate made it to the final with five other companies. Each company spoke to a group of digital publishing leaders, and the winner was picked by popular vote.
During my visit to the Lviv Book Forum in the Ukraine this past September, I stood on the veranda of a Soviet-era hotel chatting with my new acquaintances over a glass of brandy. The topic of ebooks and piracy came up, and my Embassy-assigned minder and translator looked at me and said bluntly: “I have a computer at home. I turn it on and there’s a giant red button that gives me everything I want for free. I already pay for the internet. Why would I pay for ebooks?”
With the incredible success of the App Store, sometimes it’s easy to forgot that there are still many, many countries the world over that don’t have access to it yet. That number has been reduced today, however, as Apple brings its mobile marketplace to another 32 countries, bringing the total number of countries with access to the App Store to 155.