In an article published in the O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper last week, journalist Maria Fernanda Rodrigues (formerly of PublishNews Brazil) posted data obtained in an interview with Roberto Feith, chairman of Digital Books Distributor (DLD). DLD is a consortium of seven big Brazilian publishers with exclusive distribution of ebooks from seven large Brazilian publishers: Objetiva, Record, Planeta, Rocco, L&PM, Novo Conceito and Sextante.
According to Mr Feith:
- DLD sold 50,000 digital copies in December 2012
- Ebook sales grew 110% in December, compared to November, in 2012
- Ebook sales grew 900% in December 2012, compared to December 2011. (“The sale of ebooks has grown tenfold exactly …” said Feith).
- DLD sales are expected to grow between 200 and 300% in 2012
In interviews with a variety of local ebookstores I came to understand that DLD’s share of the ebook market varies widely, from 20% to as much as 45%. Given this data and considering that DLD has a catalog of approximately 2,000 titles, one can “guesstimate” that DLD is now responsible for a third of digital books sales in Brazil. Accordingly, if DLD sold 50,000 ebooks in December 2012, total sales would suggest 150,000 ebooks sold in that month.
Based on numbers and forecasts offered by Mr Feith and assuming that that DLD has (and will continue do have) approximately 33.33% of the Brazilian digital book market, it is possible to estimate ebook sales in 2013. Taking a 250% annual growth (Mr Feith expects growth between 200 and 300% this year), over sales in December 2012, the estimated sales for DLD in December 2013 would then be some 175,000 ebooks. Total market sales would then be 525,000 units sold in the same period.
It must be underscored that December sales are outliers and usually accounted as two months worth of sales. Also, DLD does not distribute STM books, which are contributing substantially to digital sales — for instance, publisher Saraiva has a catalog of 2,800 STM titles in ebook format.
Add in STM, and using this as a multiplier based on previous figures, would suggest that by the end of 2013, ebooks sales will be around 3,572,074 total units sold..
Research in 2011 by the Brazilian Book Chamber demonstrated that book sales (excluding religious and education books, which do not have substantial digital sales) totalled 135,584,543 units. A rough estimate would show then that ebook sales would represent 2.63% of total sales in 2013.