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South African ebook distribution startup Snapplify recently announced that it’s taking its electronic retail platform to other emerging markets, starting with South America. The company hopes its unique knowledge of the South African market will help drive ebook adoption in other countries with similar characteristics around the globe.
In a blog post, Snapplify Founder Wesley Lynch explains the attractiveness of the South American expansion, saying that there’s a definite market gap in emerging markets:
“Many publishers will try to employ models for ebook distribution and sales that work in the US and UK, but these will not necessarily work in emerging economies like Africa or South America. The reason this is that the US and UK markets are unique; nowhere else is there a market with over 300 million people that speak the same language, use the same currency, and use the same payment mechanisms.”
For instance, some of the obstacles unique to emerging markets include connectivity issues due to lack of infrastructure, expensive bandwidth, shared device environments, lack of access to existing and unified platforms with bulk ebooks in wide variety.
Snapplify aims to use its experience to aid schools and universities in Brazil and Argentina, helping them to embrace ebooks and elearning. This plan echoes the company’s recent rollout of free ebooks to South African schools, which saw thousands of digital textbooks being made accessible to students.
Carlo Carrenho, Brazilian Publishing Consultant and Founder of PublishNews, says he welcomes Snapplifiy’s approach in South America, saying that its flexible solutions are better tailored to the reality of the market. He further says in a statement:
“The Brazilian ebook market grew exponentially in 2013, after the launch of several international ebookstores, such as Amazon, Apple, Google and Kobo,” explains Carrenho. “Over 2.5 million ebooks were sold in Brazil last year. This however was just the first step. And in order to grow faster, the Brazilian digital market has to address its bottlenecks, and digital distribution is a key one. The truth is that Brazil still lacks global and efficient digital aggregators to provided content to retailers and consumers.”