Brazilian Ebooks: Cheaper, but Not as Cheap as Expected

They’re finally here: Amazon, Kobo and Google have joined veterans Saraiva, Buqui, Gato Sabido and others in Brazil’s digital publishing market. But all that journalists, consumers and publishers wanted to talk about was the price of ebooks on sale. They noted, with much chagrin, that while Brazilian ebooks are cheaper, they are not as cheap as expected.

Carlo Carrenho, founding partner of PublishNews, calculated that out of the 64 books on the portal’s bestselling list and ebooks available on, ebooks are, on average, 36.2% cheaper than print books. Mr. Carrenho also estimated that digital books could be 40-50% cheaper than the printed versions, but publishers fear that by making ebooks much cheaper, consumers will migrate en masse to ebooks and abandon print books. Such a migration could mean the end of a small- to average-sized publisher, since ebooks only account for less than 1% of the current publishing market.

The price and discount details of the contracts between publishers and the new, giant etailers remain unknown. As long as the ebook market remains at 0.5% of total publishing in Brazil, publishers will continue to price their digital versions relatively close to that of their print books.

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