When it comes to Russian ebooks and audio, one company leads the field. LitRes holds 66% of the Russian digital books market, is a significant player across Eurasia, and is expanding into east Europe.
In 2018 LitRes saw its revenues rise 48%, and over 2 million audiobooks were sold, double that in 2017, comprising 25% of LitRes revenue.
While Amazon and co. look the other way, LitRes has been mopping up the Russian self-publishing market, registering 20,000 new authors in 2018, with self-publishing revenues rising 20-fold.
LitRes has long been advancing beyond the Russian border, with localized stores in Estonia and Poland since at least 2017, and supplies ebooks to stores in Kazakhstan. But this month LitRes has upgraded its Poland presence, according to Rynek-Ksiazki. (Hat-tip to Daniil Starkov for the links.)
The LitRes Poland site offers a reading app, Czytaj, and an audio app Sluchaj.
The LitRes Poland expansion comes as Poland on July 1 dropped its VAT rate for digital books from 23% to 5%.
In a report for Russia’s RBC, LitRes CEO Sergei Anuryev said the Polish ebook market had grown 13% between 2016-2017, with a 2017 value of 85 million zlotys ($22.4 million).
The industry is rather fragmented and is represented by a large number of players, the key of which are Platforma Dystrybucyjna Wydawnictw, Empik.com, Virtualo, Woblink, Legimi, Publio.pl. It is noteworthy that in Poland there are already a significant number of users of our service.
This time last year TNPS noted, in a report via Publishing Perspectives, that the LitRes subscription service MyBook had seen 85% growth in the first half of 2018.
Interestingly Anuryev doesn’t mention Storytel, which has been in Poland since 2017, and began 2019 by launching a podcast arm for Poland.
Nor Audioteka, which recently expanded from Poland into Turkey.
Founded in 2005, LitRes, according to its website,
has become one of the largest digital book platforms in Eastern Europe. LitRes currently serves clients all over the world and occupies a leading position in the Russian-speaking community around the world.
LitRes fields a catalogue of over 1 million titles in 35 languages from 300 publishers and 10,000 partners (presumably meaning self-publishers and small presses).
While Apple and Google Play have a token presence across east Europe, and Kobo is available via its US-based international store, Amazon is the least engaged, supporting no east European languages and offering no Kindle or Audible stores for the region.