Wow! My fourth year at the helm of StreetLib opens with 2022!
I can only start with some thanks: Thanks to all the publishers and indie authors who are entrusting us with their most precious assets: their books. Thanks to all our partners, to all operators and professionals in the industry for their continuous support. Thanks to all the StreetLib team. Thanks to my family. Thank you all!
At StreetLib, we believe that there is still a lot to do in the world of books and we still feel at the beginning of our journey.
The book industry is becoming increasingly digital, both in formats and processes, and this requires a paradigm shift at all levels, as well as an ability to understand and sustainably use the new technologies available.
The book industry is becoming more and more global, not only thanks to digital books and audiobooks that can cross continents at the speed of light, but also thanks to e-commerce and print-on-demand that finally allows us to overcome many physical barriers and to open up to new opportunities and new markets.
Digital changes everything, and it does it for the better, even in the world of books. For this reason, also in 2021 we worked to the maximum of our abilities to provide increasingly advanced technological services and tools to many publishing houses and indie authors who wanted to follow us in this exciting journey.
In this post I’m going to share some details of the work we are doing, starting with some numbers that are very significant for us.
From January 1st to December 31st 2021 a total of about 61,000 titles were published on StreetLib in the three formats natively supported by our platform: ebooks, audiobooks and paper books (in print-on-demand).
We are proudly Italian but we have never hidden our international ambitions, and this is also reflected in our catalog! As you can see below, in 2021 the titles distributed through StreetLib in Italian language are about 28% of the total, those in English 25%, those in German 19% and so on. Also in 2021, around 34% of our titles were uploaded by publishers or indie authors based in Italy, around 26% by customers based in Germany and around 13% by customers based in the USA, and so on:
Globally, in 2021 we welcomed around 300 new publishers and 1,500 new indie authors to the platform who have chosen StreetLib as a non-exclusive service for the production, distribution and sale of their titles worldwide.
To date, over 700 customers — mixed between publishers and indie authors — have purchased at least one of our editorial services or have subscribed to Write: this makes us very proud because we have designed these services with the aim of giving absolute priority to the quality of the editorial content, and this approach is proving to be the best choice at all levels along the supply chain.
StreetLib started producing and distributing digital books over 10 years ago and to date our platform manages more than 400,000 ebooks!
In 2019, thanks to the partnership with “Il Narratore Audiolibri”, we also started distributing digital audiobooks, which represent a format increasingly appreciated by a growing number of readers and listeners.
The supply of audiobooks in the world is still very limited compared to that of ebooks, especially in Italy. Nonetheless, the “listening activity” of narrated contents, be they in the form of podcasts or audiobooks, is not only increasingly appreciated by the new generations, but allows people to enjoy the content while doing other things during the day, and this makes the new “audio industry” very promising.
In Italy, our base country, we are still in an initial and somewhat complicated phase of the audiobook market, but despite this StreetLib currently distributes over 7,000 digital audiobooks on various platforms such as Apple, Storytel, Kobo, Google Play, Spotify, Scribd, BookBeat and others.
Of course, we don’t want to limit ourselves to digital formats, far from it. Digital brings innovation also in the processes of creation, production, distribution and sale of paper books, and thanks to the partnerships with some of the best digital printing companies, StreetLib provides our Italian authors and publishers with an innovative print-on-demand (POD) service, fully integrated within our publishing platform.
We expect to roll this out internationally during 2022, but for now here’s a flavour of what to expect:
During 2021 we have completely renewed our print-on-demand service and today we offer both the possibility of printing short-runs (down to the one-copy), and the possibility of activating the distribution of authors’ or publishers’ paper books catalog on online and physical bookstores. Of course, we offer all this with no up-front costs, without returns, with billing and monthly payments, and by providing an online dashboard to monitor the books sales on a daily basis.
Today, we distribute a catalog of about 10,000 paper books in print-on-demand across multiple channels like Amazon, Feltrinelli-IBS, The Garden of Books, Libraries Mondadori and other independent bookstores, as well as through our B2B wholesale channel StreetLib Totem.
That reach will of course be much wider when we launch our international POD service.
Passing now to the analysis of the sales data, the following are the best-selling categories in our catalog in 2021:
In summary: fiction, classics and spirituality lead our rankings, with comics and digital manga rapidly growing. We wanted to keep the representation in general BISAC in order to provide the most accurate detail possible.
In the following graph, on the other hand, we can see how about 63% of our turnover in 2021 was generated by the catalog in Italian, about 24% by that in English, and the remaining 13% by other languages, mainly Spanish, German and French:
These sales have been generated by our network of over 70 distribution partners, and one of our priorities for 2022 is to further expand our network with new partnerships around the world.
The continuous expansion of our distribution network, the native support of the three fundamental formats — ebook, audio and print, and the continuous development of our multi-service publishing platform, represent the three areas of development for StreetLib in 2022.
Publishers and indie authors can find in StreetLib a modern and effective one-stop shop publishing service, which allows them to seize new opportunities in terms of visibility and revenue, and at the same time to maintain maximum control over their catalogs and cash-flows.
This is our job and this is what we will do better and better, as we tried to show in our new video: