Tools of Change: Managing the digital market in two shores of the ocean – the Spanish case
February 16, 2011 | 2:27 pm
By Paul Biba
Matilde Sanz, Grupo Santillana
Leading Spanish and Portuguese- language media group. Presence in 22 countries, primarily publish in education, trade and language teaching. Will cover the trade business because that is the most advanced. Not to many sources of ebook sales statistics in Europe and South America. In Germany ebook sales small but have tripled after release of iPad.
Strategic moment for Spanish market because sales so small don’t know how it will develop. Launched last year because felt that worldwide numbers indicated there will be a demand. In 2011 will have 50% of their catalog in digital form and in 2012 will have about 80% of the catalog on sale. Going to have to tackle apps, especially for travel books. Distribution is being done by Libranda, who distributes 90% of the books in the Spanish market. Online, talked to about 40 online ebook stores. For the South American market were no key actors but decided to be more pro-active and formed a relationship with B&N in the US and will start up in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. Brazil is a major market for them. Will have to start an e-commerce solution. 95% of their catalog has local digital rights and with digital can make local authors more available nationwide. Google has local operations in Spain, Amazon wants to run operation from the States, Apple doesn’t have the resources. For Europe, the UK and Germany were first on the list to attack. Issues when going global: territorial rights, pricing tiers and local currencies, publishing schedule of new releases in different markets, local legal regulations for the market of books (especially fixed prices for books), rations of e-commerce adoption and quality of the e-commerce experience, exchange of information among all imprints and local operations to run centralized management of the catalog on the global level, exchange of operations between departments. Brazil’s e-commerce structure for books is excellent, unlike other countries in South America. Distribution has been a key service service for the development of the market in Spain and to serve the needs of online bookstores at the local level and to interconnect operations of global and local catalogues. In Spain VAT is 18% for ebook and 4% for print book, because it was decided that the ebook is a service, not a product. Disintermediation can happen, but needs investment, extra work and it might not be that profitable, especially with the current low sales numbers.
Many questions relate to the “terrible” distribution of physical books in South America. Sometimes it is impossible to get a local author’s book to any other country. Santillana hopes that going to ebooks will help solve this problem.