Ebook Pricing for a Foreign Market – Pricing an Ebook in Southeast Asia

It is difficult enough already to price an ebook for your home market: how difficult can it be when you don’t know a market? You don’t only have to be aware of the most popular genres and the trends in these genres but have a clear picture on pricing. We’re trying to solve this problem with a series of guides. 

We always recommend that you do a lot of research before entering a new market, but it is difficult and time-consuming. It is an unavoidable step when you are thinking of translations; but if you write in English, there is no reason why you wouldn’t try selling your books all over the world straight away.

The PublishDrive platform makes intelligent and meaningful pricing of books possible: you can set the price individually by stores in the country’s own currency, sensitive to local trends. But until now you were faced with two options: either you ignored the intelligent pricing and let the prices set automatically or you were condemned to hours of research to learn the rules of your genre and countries. And if you choose this route, you were probably discouraged by the many different currencies: who knows how many RM (Malaysian Ringgit) is one Euro?

Nature of the Southeast Asian Ebook Market

The Southeast Asian ebook market has been talked about a lot recently: it has become more and more accessible for Western sellers since 2014. With around 600 million potential readers to reach, it is a very important territory – but it would be a mistake to approach it the same way as European or North American markets. Before the recent launch of local ebook distributors, English language ebooks were usually bought through Amazon. Since the launch of eSentral, several independent stores have opened up aiming for a smaller submarket and offering ebooks both in local languages and English. As for the international book market, Overdrive is accessible in Malaysia, Bookmate in Singapore, and Kobo in Indonesia and the Philippines.

© 2013 Kat Nienartowicz, CC-BY

Countries and stores available through PublishDrive

Major ASEAN CountriesCurrencies and exchange rate from 1 USDStores
ThailandBaht 33.09 THBeSentral
Google Play
IndonesiaRupiah (Rp) 13298.00 IDReSentral
Google Play
PhilippinesPeso (₱) 50.82 PHPeSentral
Google Play
VietnamDong (₫) 22727.27 VNDeSentral
Google Play
MalaysiaRinggit (RM ) 4.21 MYReSentral
Google Play
SingaporeDollar (S$) 1.35 SGDeSentral
Google Play

Top genres and most common pricing

By researching individual, local ebook retailers, I collected a list of most popular genres for each country and was trying to find the median price range (the most popular pricing). I excluded international bestsellers from the calculations, as they are usually priced equally everywhere. I’m giving you the prices in the local currency for the ease of use if you go for individual pricing on PublishDrive.

ThailandChildren’s books
IndonesiaChildren’s books
Erotic fiction
Suspense thriller
Rp 57 000 to Rp 150 000
popular range: Rp 99 000
Rp 15 000 to Rp 150 000
1st book of series is cheap
Rp 60 000 to Rp 100 000
Rp 180 000 to Rp 700 000
Rp 38 000 to Rp 350 000
most books are in English
Children’s books
Erotic fiction
General fiction
₱200 to ₱500
₱150 to ₱500
₱100 to ₱300
₱50 to ₱250
₱50 to ₱400
₱50 to ₱300
VietnamChildren’s books
₫5 000 to ₫10 000
₫25 000
₫15 000 to 25 000
MalaysiaChildren’s books
Teen fiction
RM5 to RM10
RM5 to RM20
RM5 to RM25
RM2 to RM8
RM2 to RM10
most books are in English
Children’s books
Business management
S$1.5 to S$6
S$2.5 to S$15
S$4 to S$8
S$4 to S$5
S$5 to S$10

If you would like to individually set your prices on PublishDrive, go to your ‘Book’ page > Edit > Advanced pricing. You can manually edit the number that is automatically put there. On the right, you will see the price converted in your own currency. The ‘Suggestion’ is automatically calculated from your original RRP.

While this guide is far from complete, hopefully gives you a general idea about ebook prices in the Southeast Asian region. Which region would you like to learn about next? Tell us in the comments!