Consultancy IDC is claiming Russia is now among the world’s top ebook markets, joining the US and China, with more potential for growth.
Russian writers are battling a new government-led Literature Assembly, which they view as an effort to control over authors and a possible return to censorship.
A new state-sanctioned Literary Assembly will replace the Soviet-era Union of Writers, and Vladimir Putin has declared 2015 a Year of Literature in Russia.
Title production hit 56,000 copies for the first six months of 2012, though overall sales are lower, according to news out of this year’s Moscow International Book Fair.
Amazon has contracted Rosman to supply its first ebook titles for sale in Russia. For now, the retailer is concentrating on digital in lieu of establishing a Russian print supply chain.
Russia supplies 90% of the books in the Ukraine, but the government wants to change this by investing over $60 million to support the indigenous book business.
The Russian ebook market more than doubled in 2012, to 250 million rubles (USD $8 million), but remains just 1% of market. Some 95% of ebooks downloaded are pirate editions.
With 20% of Russia’s bookstores having closed and book sales in free fall, the government is investing $100m to promote reading and change in the industry.