In a bizarre twist in the Storytel-Bonnier dispute, both companies say they are winners and are earning more without the other

It’s so counterintuitive it needs to be read twice, but in the battle between Sweden’s biggest streaming service, Storytel, and Sweden’s biggest publisher Bonnier, which also happens to own Sweden’s second biggest streaming outfit, Bookbeat, it seems both companies are making more money by having less content available. But is that the full story, is Read More …

Is the Frankfurt Book Fair responsible for a 40% drop in Norwegian fiction sales in April?

Denmark’s publishing industry journal BogMarketed has an interesting take on plummeting fictions sales in Norway. Amid suggestions from some quarters that audiobooks may be to blame for the collapse in fiction sales in Norway last month comes an improbable but not implausible explanation. New figures from the Publishers’ Association show an alarming decrease of 39% Read More …

Storytel to gift its VAT bonus to publishers, quelling disquiet about royalties under the new pay per minute system

When Jonas Tellander announced Storytel’s plan to moved from a fixed rate payout for publishers to a per-minute-consumed model there was understandable disquiet from publishers, many of whom believed the new model would see their revenue streams cut. And of course some did. Under the old model a one-hour podcast would earn as much for Read More …

Arabic audiobook operator Kitab Sawti grows 20% month on month. Picks up $6 million in new funding as Amazon remains ambivalent towards the Arab book markets

Headquartered in Stockholm, Kitab Sawti has since 2016 been working the Arab audiobook market, largely unnoticed by the outside world. It’s not alone – Dhad, Booklava and of course Storytel Arabia are among its rivals for the affections of Arab audiobook lovers, but it’s a telling point that whereas Storytel is expecting to hit the Read More …

Swedish book exports valued at $36 million in 2018, led by fiction, but we don’t know if this is up or down on 2017

A press release from the Swedish Publishers Association this week reports that for the first time an analysis has been made of Swedish literature exports, and the value of SEK 340 million ($36 million) has been attributed to the sector. Fiction led the charge both in overall value and in the number of contracts. Swedish Read More …

Iceland’s Bókmenntahátíð í Reykjavík kicks off next week with the inaugural Halldór Laxness Award among many attractions

If it’s 2019, it must be time for the bi-annual Bókmenntahátíð í Reykjavík which this year has a spring date for the first time.  That will be April 24-27 for those who fancy a spring break in Iceland. Don’t worry if you flunked Icelandic at school. Bókmenntahátíð í Reykjavík is of course the Reykjavík International Read More …

Sweden’s subscription model faces its biggest challenge yet as Bonnier and Storytel go to war

It was a confrontation waiting to happen, and perhaps the real surprise here is that it hasn’t happened sooner. Storytel has long since established itself as the market leader in audiobook subscription, and an essential component of any publisher’s marketing strategy. Not least of the Swedish publishing giant Bonnier. But from the day Bonier launched Read More …

Storytel launches in Singapore. Adds 65,000 subscribers in Q1, bringing in $32m from streaming services. Targets 39% annual growth

There were no big surprises from Storytel for Q1 2019, with the final numbers missing forecasts by such a tiny number as not to matter. 835,000 subscribers forecast and 834,700 delivered. That’s up 65,600 on Q4 2018. 297 million SEK forecast from streaming revenue materialized as 296 million. At this rate Storytel is in serious Read More …

Norwegian online bookstore wins Finland’s Dragon’s Den variation Polar Bear Pitching with an icy proposition

Most people reading this will know of the TV series Dragon’s Den, or Shark Tank, or any of thirty localised variations of the show where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to risk-averse investors. Originating in Japan as Money Tigers, Dragons Den has been reproduced around the globe from Afghanistan to Vietnam, and occasionally publishing opportunities Read More …

Storytel wants to reduce visibility on hot romance and erotica because they are too popular

Cupido is a Norwegian site dedicated to all things sensual, and now that includes podcasts. This month Cupido is launching what apparently translates as Cupido Handsfree – a great double-entendre if accurate. To mark the event Cupido tells us that 4,500 of Storytel’s 100,000 titles are categorized as “sensual”, referencing a report in the left-wing Norwegian Read More …

StreetLib completes January tranche of global expansion. 21 countries on 6 continents

When StreetLib launched The New Publishing Standard in September 2017 we made clear the function of the journal was to stimulate debate about the much-neglected global book markets. It was not a StreetLib promotional tool, and not a vehicle to advocate digital at the expense of traditional formats. But occasionally StreetLib becomes part of the Read More …

Boktugg’s essential list of 2019 Scandinavian book fairs

Regulars here at TNPS will know the value we attach to the global book fair scene, and that contrary to the impression given by many western publishing industry platforms, there are significant book fairs, book festivals and other literary events happening pretty much every day of the year somewhere around the world. I’m asked time Read More …

Audiobook revenue doubled in Finland in 2018

While the end of year results are not yet known, audiobook revenues doubled in Finland up until September 2018, standing at 2.5 million euros ($2.8 million) and accounting for 3% of total book sales. Market leader Bookbeat, part of Sweden’s Bonnier, as reported here recently had 150,000 subscribers at end 2019, and Finland’s M&M says 70,000 Read More …

Sweden’s Storytel beats forecast for both subscribers and revenue. 55% of subscribers and 52% of streaming revenue now international

Storytel issued a press release today to say it had beaten its forecast for both subscribers and revenue in Q4, with an average 768,700 paying subscribers across its fifteen markets, up almost 48,000 on Q3. Streaming revenue just beat the forecast, coming in at SEK 291.3 million ($32 million) for Q4, of which SEK 140 Read More …

Sweden’s Bookbeat grew 163% to 150,000 in 2018. Targets 250,000 subscribers by end 2019

Swedish streaming service Bookbeat may have put the UK on hold, but it’s still battling for market share in Finland, Germany and homeland Sweden, with Finland performing well. In an interview with Sweden’s Boktugg, Bookbeat CEO Niclas Sandin intimated he expected more growth from Germany in 2019 and that together Germany and Finland might exceed Read More …

As Norway bucks the Scandinavian trend, preferring print bought offline, TNPS asks: Do the smaller book markets really have anything to fear from Amazon?

A new report, Art in Numbers, from the Norwegian Cultural Council observes 88% of fiction and 75% of non-fiction is consumed in print via Norway’s high street stores, in stark contrast to neighbouring Sweden where streamed audiobooks and ebooks are the trend. Trine Stensen, CEO of the Norwegian Bookstores Association, explained, That the physical bookstore Read More …

In the fight against Storytel, Denmark’s JP/Politikens Hus acquires Danish online bookshop Saxo.com

The acquisition, subject to regulatory authority approval, of Denmark’s largest online bookstore Saxo by minority stake-holder JP/Politikens Hus has repercussions beyond the Danish border. If the translation is accurate, Saxo’s Jørgen Balle Olesen said in a press release, I hand over the keys to JP / Politikens Hus with a mixture of pride and vodka. Fortunately, Read More …

After the Scribd-NYT subscription deal, Sweden’s Bookbeat ties a bundled deal with Dagens Nyheter. But are Storytel’s rivals up to the challenges ahead?

If the Scribd-New York Times subscription bundle made the headlines in the Anglophone world, it is Bookbeat’s deal with Dagen Nyheter that is the big news in Scandinavia. Bookbeat, second player to Storytel in the Nordic audiobook and ebook subscription stakes, has signed a deal with the Swedish digital news service (Dagens Nyheter = Today’s Read More …

Denmark’s publishers perform u-turn on digital libraries as Storytel and co. show consumers want ebooks and audio

Denmark’s digital library service Ereolen has seen the number of ebook titles in its catalogue soar from 18,000 in September 2017 to 29,000 in September 2018. The 65% boost is due to Denmark’s biggest publishers embracing the option rather than lose ground to audiobook and ebook subscription services like Storytel. Denmark’s largest publisher, Gyldendal, returned Read More …

Axiell Media cries foul on OverDrive’s Sweden deal, claiming OverDrive has no agreements with Sweden’s biggest publishers

October was supposed to mark the start of OverDrive’s supply of digital content to Sweden’s public libraries after Overdrive beat domestic front-runner Axial in a lowest-priced bidding war. From TNPS in June: OverDrive wins 4 year contract to supply ebooks to Sweden’s libraries Axiell bought out former market leader Elib in 2015 and seemed in Read More …