Insights into Australian eBook retailing – Booku sells 11 eBooks per 100 physical books

New local eBook download website Booku (www.booku.com) has been operating for two months and the business has had a positive start, according to Managing Director Clayton Wehner. 

‘When we launched Booku, we fully expected to lose money for a good twelve months, but we have been pleasantly surprised by the website’s traffic and sales to date. We’ve actually achieved positive cash flow in just our second month.  Clearly, there is an emerging market out there for eBooks’.

The company behind popular Australian online bookstore Boomerang Books launched Booku on 1 March 2011. The new site has more than 137,000 eBook titles available for instant download, including a growing selection of Australian content.

Booku’s eBooks are industry-standard Adobe ePub and PDF files which can be read on a PC or Macintosh; a purpose-built eBook reader, such as the Sony Reader or Kobo; or on mobile devices, such as the iPhone, iPad and Android phones and tablets.

‘In the first two months of business, we’ve had over 1,360 orders and delivered over 1,700 eBooks. In April, we quadrupled March’s revenue and we’re already on track to double that again in May.’

‘Amazon sold 115 Kindle eBooks for every 100 paperbacks in January this year – as a comparison, we sold 11 eBooks for every 100 physical books in March and April.’

In its short history, Booku has sold eBooks all over the world and is planning to open US, UK and New Zealand versions of its eBookstore.

‘It’s no surprise to us that many of our early eBook sales have come from overseas because Booku carries quite a lot of content with ‘worldwide rights’. One third of all orders have come from Australia, but we’ve had lots of orders from markets that are more mature in terms of eBook uptake’.

Apart from Australia, Booku’s sales have come from United States (24%), United Kingdom (6%), Canada (4%), France, Germany, Spain, India, New Zealand and Italy (between 1.4 and 1.8% each).

‘One thing that we have found surprising is the volume of traffic to the website. Booku is currently attracting around 8,000 visitors every day and it has actually eclipsed Boomerang Books in visitation.  Normally it takes several months to achieve any level of penetration in Google, but our organic traffic has been really good’.

Booku is currently working with local publishers to increase the amount of Australian content on the website.

‘We’re keen to enter into dialogue with Australian publishers to assist them to sell their content through Booku. We really pleased to be selling content from the likes of Allen and Unwin, Pan Macmillan, Exisle Publishing, Wakefield Press, New Holland Publishers and University of Queensland Press.  Publishers soon to come on board include Random House, HarperCollins Australia, Scribe Publications, Murdoch Books and Text Publishing’.

The Booku website is at . For more information about how to list your eBooks on Booku, please contact Clayton Wehner at [email protected]

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Joel Naoum

Joel Naoum is a Sydney-based book editor, publisher, blogger and writer. He is passionate about the possibilities of social media and digital publishing opens up for authors, publishers, booksellers and the whole book industry.