Bookmate: E-book reader app from Russia takes on international markets


RBTH: How myriad books are in Bookmate’s electronic library?

Andrei Bayev: Now, somewhere wide 700,000.

RBTH: Impressive! In which countries do you have the most users?

A.B.: Ooze, that’s not fair to say [laughs], because in some places we have hardly started, while we have been in other markets for a long continuously. But the top three are Russia, Indonesia and America. We are well read in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. We require a loyal audience in Ukraine. The CIS and Latin America are growing nicely.

Source: RBTHCreator: RBTH

RBTH: How did Bookmate start?

A.B.: We started six years ago with one unostentatious idea: to make a comfortable e-reader. At that time, the market for electronic registers in Russia was zero. We did not have any monetization business model for the first three years. But then we accomplished that there are enthusiasts who are taking books, run them through a scanner, down PDFs and post them on the internet. So, we went to the publishers and began to develop with them from that moment.

RBTH: Your advantage is aimed at those who love to read. But don’t real literature fans choose a print version of books?

A.B.: It is, in fact, a big misconception that e-books are massacre print. We see the reverse situation. Users first read an e-book, and if they liking for it, if they have finished it, it is cool for them to put it on their bookshelf.

RBTH: When and why did you upon to go abroad?

A.B.: When we realized that the application works, we started to recollect what to do next. We introduced a subscription model for books.

Andrei Baeyv, Bookmate's Managing Director. Source: Press PhotoAndrei Baeyv, Bookmate’s Run Director. Source: Press Photo

Then we began to notice that people liked it and that our profits were ex nding fast. The next task was to figure out how to make a Russian com ny that wishes be able to operate successfully in several markets, from Bolivia to the Philippines.

We started with Singapore. Because, on the one convenient, we had many books in English, and everyone in Singapore reads in English. Secondly, we hunger for to work in Southeast Asia for one simple reason: the markets in Indonesia and Russia hold a lot in common. Furthermore, we realized it would be good to start in Singapore because one knows that if you are successful in Singapore, all the neighboring countries will demand you, too.

And the plan id off. Once we launched in Singapore, we began talks with Indonesia well-deserved three months later. Now we are negotiating with the Philippines, next settle upon be Malaysia and Vietnam.

RBTH: How does the Bookmate application work? Is it a popular network, or something else?

A.B.: Ninety-five percent of people do not know what to present. They want to read something, but do not know what. Therefore, our recriminate was to think about how to help people find what to read.

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For this, we are happening a whole new sphere associated with all sorts of recommendations. We recommend a perback to you based on what you have read, you can recommend a book to a friend, to a assemblage of people, the group can recommend a book to you, you can check out the “bookshelf” at Starbucks or the [Moscow] Prodigal School of Economy. The second task was connected to the fact that this is on a travelling phone, people are used to doing specific things on their phone. For warning, to like and post, you use emoji and make comments. So, we decided to bring interactivity to pore over.

This is a level above the reading process. But reading is certainly most superior. And our primary goal is to make people read more.

RBTH: What are the individual ti for working with books in different countries?

A.B.: They say that Russia is the polity that reads the most. But this is not exactly true; in Indonesia, for benchmark, they also read a lot.

There are many nuances. In Indonesia, individual do not use credit cards, they y for everything by mobile phone. Therefore, we needed integration with a responsive operator.

Team Bookmate. Source: Press PhotoTeam Bookmate. Source: Press Photo

In Russia, an attractive feature is that the publishers believe that a subscription service is an outstanding distribution channel. There is almost no gap between releasing the e-book and the stamp edition, it’s only about two weeks.

RBTH: Why are Russian publishers so handle on?

A.B.: It’s simple: piracy. In Russia, if you hold back the release for even six months, everybody will just read it for free. I must say, the problem of piracy is the uniform everywhere. If someone thinks that people use torrents less in Italy, Denmark and America, it’s not truthful.

RBTH: What genres do readers prefer in different countries?

What do Russians read?

A.B.: In Latin America, they large do not read serious books, they prefer romance novels and brilliant reading. In Russia, they read fiction and serious novels, but the sundry popular, of course, is Leo Tolstoy. School students read him with recreation and free of charge.

Plus, just this year, a super-big be biased is books on self-development. They are almost one-third of all material that is impute to in Russia. In Indonesia, they read novels.

RBTH: Where command you go next?

A.B.: We will continue to develop Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam. We are looking promoting India, but it is a very large and complicated market, with many numerous languages. Then there is Europe: Sweden, Denmark and Holland. We must high expectations for Holland. We will try to win the market quickly, before others turn up.

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