Primento says Belgian ebook market up 43% in 2017, with zero growth from Apple and Google Play, 98% growth from Kobo

The Brussels International Book Fair is underway in Belgium, and one Belgian aggregator has shared its numbers.

It’s not clear how much Brussels based Primento’s numbers reflect the wider Belgian digital market, but Primento itself 2017 saw a 45% rise in sales in the home market.

That’s according to ID Boox, which, quoting Primento’s numbers, suggests Amazon has 60% of the Belgian ebook market, with Google Play at 14%, Kobo at 13% and Apple 10%.

For Primento titles at least, Google Play and Apple growth has been at zero, while Amazon has grown 28%. But, and here’s the big surprise, Kobo has seen 98% growth in 2017 in Belgian (again, this on Primento figures, not necessarily reflected in the wider market).

Kobo is in Belgian via Fnac France, and similarly Belgians need to buy from Amazon via the Amazon FR store. Both Apple and Google Play, by contrast, have localized Belgian stores, but for Primento titles at least that doesn’t seem to carry any weight with readers.

When it comes to ebook subscriptions, Belgians seem none too enchanted with the idea, with just 2% using a subscription service. Of that 2% fully 95% prefer Kindle Unlimited.

That stands in contrast to a wider market report in November 2017 that put 63% of Belgians buying direct, while 20% used digital libraries and 7% subscription services.

As always, we need to exercise caution when interpreting one-source statistics like these, and not to conclude they necessarily reflect the wider market.

Primento, founded in 2013 by Thibault Léonard, caters to independent publishers who will likely be splitting their catalogues across many upload options, so the numbers Primento offers will reflect not only consumer responses but also the way publishers elect to distribute their titles. The growth in Kobo sales could, for example, simply be a sign more publishers are loading to Kobo via Primento than was previously the case.

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