Two myths about Russian book market existing among foreign authors
I was baffled to know that Russian book market has the same reputation as the Russian mafia. This reputation is based on two widely spread myths: rampant piracy and low prices. This is one of the main reasons, why most of self-published authors when choosing which foreign market to enter do not think Russian book market can be even potentially a good place to start.
But is there truth behind these myths?
It is true that before buying a digital product (such as e-book) on Internet, Russian people will check if they can get this digital product for free first.
It is true that there are a lot of e-books available for free on Russian Internet which means people will not pay for e-book that they can download for free, which makes total sense.
But is this myth about rampant piracy true?
As I recently wrote on twitter:
Russia is not a country of barbarians and just like in every civilized country we have law that protects your intellectual property.
There are a lot of ways how you can do this (I will write a detailed blog post about it soon) but for now all you need to know is that if authors let their works to just be on Russian book market, it is more likely they will get into the category of free downloads very soon.
Most of the time it is not even a piracy as such; just a bunch of generous kiddos wishing to share the e-book they bought and liked with other kiddos on Internet, so those could also read it but for free.
Again, it happens mostly because authors do not take control over their intellectual properties or do not have enough of information on how to do this. If to think, the same can (and a lot of times did) happen to e-books on global market as well. It should not be the reason for foreign authors to ignore all the benefits a Russian translation of their works can get on Russian book market.
It is a fact that Russian Ruble is quite weak against US Dollar which is the reason why this myth about ‘low prices’ keep existing even to the present day.
But let’s look at this from another angle.
An average price of e-books on Russian online book market is about 250-300 RUB which is 3.5-4.5 USD.
An average price of physical copies is about 350-750 RUB which is 5-11 USD. But books in translation can cost sometimes up to 1500 RUB which is 21 USD, which does not look like a low price to me at all, does it to you?
There over 110 million of Russian speaking people in the world, which means the potential of Russian book market is gigantic. But to truly see it, you will have to put in some work, take control over your intellectual property and have a simple but working promotion plan.
Reading becomes more and more popular in Russia, books in translation are especially popular among teenagers. Such genres as: YA, romance, fantasy and paranormal fantasy, detective and mystery, even suspense and thrillers are in high demand on Russian book market as well as non-fiction (self-help) books.
In other words, if your book is doing well in terms of sales and attention, more likely it will be doing well (maybe even better) on Russian book market too.
You just need to know the right information, have a simple but working promotion plan and readiness to put in some work to gain name and reputation on Russian book market.