Milestone: 100 German books

I reached a milestone yesterday, because as of yesterday I have sold 100 German language e-books.

Mind you that at the moment we only have six German language e-books available as opposed to 43 English language e-books. However, we have three new German language titles currently going through the editing and proofing process, namely the German translations of Outlaw Love, Family Car and The Other Side of the Curtain.

Here is the breakdown of sales by title:

1. Der Kuss des Richtschwertes and Unter der Knute (tie)
2. Kurierdienst
3. Honigtopf
4. Reiche Beute and Die Liebe in den Zeiten des Frischkornmüslis (tie)

The two top sellers together make up around 80 percent of all our German language sales. The remaining four books make up only around 20 percent of all German language sales altogether. The lesson to be drawn from this is that at least for me, historical short fiction vastly outsells crime shorts and humour. Which is a bit unusual, considering that crime and mystery are the most popular genres in the German speaking world (unlike the US, where romance is king). However, historical fiction, particularly with lots of blood and guts and drama, is very popular in the German speaking world as well.

Under the Knout and The Kiss of the Executioner’s Blade also sell well in English. However, it is notable that both Courier Duty and Honeypot sell much better in German than in English. Ditto for Love in the Times of the Macrobiotic Müsli, but then it is a very German story, so I never expected strong English language sales in the first place.

Let’s take a look at the sales channels. The breakdown is as follows:

1. Amazon Germany: 74%
2. Kobo: 10%
3. 6%
4. XinXii: 4%
5. Apple: 2%
6. Amazon UK: 1%
7. Barnes & Noble: 1%
8. Der Club: 1%
9. Casa del Libro: 1%

As with most indie writers, Amazon is still king also for my German sales. It’s kind of obvious that the lion’s share of German language books would be sold via, though is also a notable player and even Amazon UK is good for the occasional German language sale.

As with my overall sales, Kobo is my second biggest sales channel, but then Kobo readers are widely available in German stores. What is interesting is that my German language Kobo sales are not just concentrated in Germany but originate from all over Europe. For example, I sell a lot of German language books via Kobo in Switzerland. I have also sold German books via Kobo in Belgium (which has a German speaking minority) and the UK.

The small German based retailer XinXii still accounts for 4 percent of my German language sales, which is a pleasant surprise, considering most indies barely sell at XinXii. My German language Apple sales are rather anaemic, but then I don’t sell all that well on Apple in English either. Whatever Apple buyers are looking for, it’s not what we’re selling. I never expected many German sales from Barnes & Noble, since they are largely US-focussed in spite of their recent entry into the European market. The lone sale at Casa del Libro, a Spanish store, was a pleasant surprise.

Der Club finally is the online store of Bertelsmann’s German book club, which was a huge player in the German book market from the 1950s all the way up into the 1990s. Der Club is part of the Tolino alliance which supposedly has 37 percent of the German e-book market (Amazon has 43 percent, the remaining 20 percent are Kobo, Apple, Sony, Google Play and smaller stores). Considering that Tolino supposedly has 37 percent of the German e-book market, it’s a bit surprising that the Tolino stores only make up one percent of my German language sales. However, the Tolino stores are not exactly indie friendly – you can only get in via a distributor, XinXii being your best bet – and I only have one book in the Tolino stores at the moment and not a strong seller at that. What is more, Tolino users are more conservative (early adopters have Sony readers, Kindles or Kobo readers) and more trad-pub focussed.

Anyway, that’s it for this snapshot of the German language e-book market from a Pegasus Pulp POV. Stay tuned for more German language releases in the next few weeks.

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