Peace in our time. Storytel and Bonnier sign three-year armistice. Consumers and authors are the winners, says Tellander

The problem with the subscription model is, for publishers, remuneration rates. In an all-you-can-eat model as offered to consumers by Sweden-based global digital books subscription service Storytel, paying a fixed rate per download or portion of a title read or listened to is never a viable long-term option. The USA’s Oyster famously collapsed because payments Read More …

India’s youngest librarian. Bookboats in Sweden, Norway and, sadly no longer, in Finland

We Start The Day Global today with a look at floating libraries in Scandinavia and a free public library in India where the librarian is still at school. Twelve year old Yashoda D Shenov has a unique claim to fame – she runs her own free-to-use public library. Taking up the top floor of her Read More …

Storytel’s subscription royalties rose 6.4% in Q2. But is $0.20 per hour enough to keep publishers happy? Does the subscription model have a future?

At the start of this year Storytel changed its remuneration model for publishers, from a fixed payment per unit consumed to a rate per hour of consumption. Under the old model Storytel paid publishers between $1.81-$2.13 per book consumed, which disproportionately rewarded shorter works and penalized longer ones. It’s a debate we are all familiar Read More …

Storytel beats subscriber and revenue forecasts for Q2 with annual growth at 37%

The latest results from Storytel offer no surprises but also, sadly, no real detail beyond what we’ve come to expect. On target for one million subscribers by end 2019, Storytel hit 887,500 subscribers in Q2, an increase of 53,200 on Q1. The forecast was 800,000, and a predictable press release says simply, Storytel therefore surpasses Read More …

With the “attention economy” the latest buzzword excuse for perceived falling book sales, how is it Scandinavia is seeing both video and book streaming rise simultaneously?

The rise and rise of audiobook and ebook subscription streaming across the Scandinavian countries has been mentioned here at TNPS so often it hardly needs rehearsing again. But this week the tremendous interest in digital reading in northwest Europe takes on new significance as we learn that video-streaming is still rising in these same countries, Read More …

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 …

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 …

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 …

African Publishing – The $5 Billion Digital Opportunity as Nigeria becomes 7th largest country by online population

At the IPA Africa Seminar in Lagos in 2018 it was reported that the African book market was worth $1 billion. Not a staggering amount, but enough to raise eyebrows among many in the global publishing industry who believed Africa was a publishing backwater not worthy of their attention. This June comes the second IPA Read More …

Storytel Q4 report: Subscribers up 44% Y/Y. Streaming sales up 38%. Targets 1.1 million subscribers by end 2019

We won’t know the full story for Storytel 2018 until April, but the Q4 results are out and include an overview of the year, and a clear picture is emerging of consistent and sustainable growth, driven by digital. As I’ll explore in a follow-up report on the Swedish book market, what we are seeing in Read More …

Sweden’s digital tax falls from 25% to 6% in July. What will Storytel do with its VAT windfall?

The Swedish government has finally announced its digital VAT plans, and as from July 1 digital services like ebooks, audiobooks and news will be subject to just 6% VAT, instead of the current 25%. The logical next step, one might think, would be for prices to fall in line with the VAT reduction, but as 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 …

Storytel partners with airline and ups its reading game with Ztory buy out. Spotify gets into podcasts. Others discuss digital fatigue

It sometimes seems like the US book market and the rest of the world are on different planets. “Capitalizing on Book Publishing Trends in 2019” is the title of a free webinair from Book Business later this month. I did think about signing up, but when they wanted my address and telephone number as compulsory 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 …

Storytel breaks new ground with commercial collaboration with Sweden’s Avanza to offer business audiobooks

Sweden’s banking and finance company Avanza has long offered financial advice via podcasts, so it was only natural that, when Storytel cast its eye over the Swedish audio landscape for untapped niches it should alight on the private finance sector. Storytel takes the next step in its commitment to business literature by launching a unique 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 …