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, JP / Politikens Hus is absolutely right for taking Saxo.com to the next level. The house has been a partner in Saxo.com for almost ten years and we have the same values about the importance of quality content.
Not sure if that’s to be taken as read or a classic Google Translate faux pas.
To understand the wider significance of the deal, I defer to Sölve Dahlgren at Boktugg, who explains the JP/Politikens Hus group,
includes the newspapers Jyllands-Posten, Dagbladet Politiken, Ekstra Bladet, a series of free newspapers in Denmark and Sweden (under the name Lokaltidningen) and the publishers Jyllands-Posten Forlag, JP / Politikens Forlag, Forlag Hr. Ferdinand, C & K Forlag and Swedish book publisher Polaris (and a) bricks & mortar store – Bogik’s Politics, and the digital streaming service Politiken Books.
This time last year, Dahlgren reports, Denmark’s Saxo,
launched its own streaming service, Saxo Premium, reminiscent of Amazon Prime, with discounts in online bookshops for subscribers. At the launch, Saxo’s goal was to reach between 25,000 and 35,000 customers.
At which point remember Denmark is a country of only 5.7 million.
But Denmark is also one of Storytel’s primary markets, which as Dahlgren explains, will have been a factor in the acquisition.
Although Saxo and Politiken have already been closely linked through the joint ownership, the deal gives them new opportunities for managing the business.
On the Danish side of the strait there is currently a hot debate on fixed remuneration and revenue share, where the Danish writers’ union even went out and warned for revenue share, and said that the publishers broke the deal with the authors if they continued selling digital books without fixed compensation per consumer book. Storytel wants all publishers to accept the latter model used in Sweden (Bonniers had a special arrangement for fixed payment).
Dahlgren says Saxo is not a big profit maker, but ebooks are profitable for the company, as are print books sold online.
Storytel owns People’s Press, the fourth largest publisher in Denmark, so anything that can provide a bulwark against Storytel’s encroachment on Danish publishing industry must be seen as positive at the Denmark end.
It’s unlikely Storytel CEO Jonas Tellander will be losing any sleep over the news, having just launched in Mexico and with a Brazil launch lined up for the new year – both markets many times larger than Denmark and both, where audiobooks are concerned, open goals for the Swedish globetrotter.