One of the joys of having an app in an app store is that you can track from day to day how well you’re doing. I’m quite satisfied with how Eboocz has been doing it’s first month online and every day I log on with great expectations to see how Eboocz fared the day before. One of the interesting aspects of all the available statistics is the Territory filter. You can see from which country the download came from and the top countries at this moment are the US, Japan, France, Spain, China and the Czech Republic. Thank you all in those countries for your interest in Eboocz!
But that’s not the whole story. There is a long tail of countries that are also doing quite well and then on the end of it all there are the countries with a single download. There are in total 60 countries where Eboocz was downloaded. That’s 60 from 155 available territories in the Mac App Store. I find it totally cool that people in all those countries may be busy creating ebooks with my brainchild. Obviously not all those people will be using Eboocz. I’m not that naive. I know how it works. People may have an interest, check out my app and then forget about it. I do that myself every now and then. But still, there may be thousands of real Eboocz users right now all around the globe.
Of those countries there are a lot of countries I did not immediately expect to see. I have for instance customers in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mauritius, Lebanon, Armenia, Peru and the Dominican Republic. When I started this adventure I never thought about the fact that there are 155 territories available in the Mac App Store, but now that I know I’m keeping a close eye one all new countries I reach. How cool would it be to have customers in all those 155 countries!
It also dawned on me more than before that ebooks are a global phenomenon. Like many people in this industry I follow a couple of blogs and twitter accounts about ebooks, e-publishing and e-reading, but most of the news is about the US and Europe. Sometimes there is news from around the world, but until now I myself haven’t really given it much attention. Shame on me! I intend to change that now because I’m very curious to hear about how other countries are dealing with this new technology.
I started out by reading about WorldReader projects and a Unesco report from 2014 about Reading in the mobile era. My first impression is that in developing countries it all seems to be about e-reading on mobile and distributing simple e-ink devices to libraries, schools and universities. It’s obviously a totally different ebook landscape than what we’re used to in the US, Europe, and large parts of Asia, but I find it not less interesting.
For example, I learned form the WorldReader report that there are 349.389 WorldReader users in Ethiopia. At the same time the Unesco reports that adult illiteracy rate is over 60 per cent for the total population. From another report I found out that 34% of the population is estimated to own a mobile phone in 2015. Mobile phone penetration is one of the lowest in the world, but as in most developing countries it is growing rather fast. There are still huge challenges though. Internet penetration for instance is 2.9%.
E-reading under those circumstances is a whole different ballgame. In Ethiopia the ebook debate is probably not about Amazon or print vs ebook. It is about development programs, School and University libraries, Unesco, WorldReader, possibly the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and Open Access. It’s entirely clear that in a country like Ethiopia it is not as if nothing’s happening, it’s just different and I get the impression that right now it’s developing quite fast. I’d love to hear and read more stories about what’s happening around the world with e-publishing, ebooks and e-reading. If you have interesting tips or can shed some light on certain developments, please let me know. I’ll try to write more about this subject in coming months when I find out more. Ebooks are clearly a worldwide phenomenon and I look forward to learning more about what’s going on.