The largest Russian online bookstore — the group of companies “Litres” — in 2015 for the first time to become profitable, reported to journalists the General Director “Litres” Sergey Anura. The exact amount of profit he refused to disclose.
Sales of “Litres” to the payment of royalties to rights holders in 2015 increased compared with 2014 by 79.3% and for the first time exceeded 1 billion rubles, the Volume of payments to right holders over the past year increased by 71.7%, to 383 million rubles, said the Anura.
“Litres” is the largest player on the Russian market of electronic books. The group estimates its share of 56% (excluding service MyBook). The closest competitor — Google — is only 12% of the market, according to “Litres”. The main shareholder of “Litres” is the largest Russian publishing group “Eksmo-AST”. In 2013 the group invested Fund of the Russian Internet Technology Fund: $5 million he received the package “less blocking”, wrote the newspaper “Vedomosti”. In 2014 big stake in the company (over 25%) was the Internet retailer Ozon, who paid for their share of over $10 million.
Group “Litres” unites website litres.ru mobile apps “Litres: Read” and “Litres: Listen”, the website and the app MyBook (subscription model), the application Read.Free” (advertising model), an Advisory service LiveLib and service-publishing, Selfpub. In addition, “Litres” is engaged in delivery of content to retail partners, such as Google Play, Bookmate, mobile operators (February 2016 works joint application “Litres” and MTS “MTS.Books”).
The audience only retail in “Litres” in December 2015 has reached 4.5 million, the increase in the number of unique buyers made up 36.7 per cent year-on-year. The number of books sold increased by 32.5%. The growing product range of all areas “Litres” in 2015 amounted to 59.4%, in the group’s library — 750 thousand names. The number of monthly active users of platform MyBook in 2015, exceeded 1 million people. The increase in the number of books read by the app users, a year — on 69%. The total audience of ebook readers in Runet in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to the “Litres” has exceeded 10 million people.
The volume of the market of electronic books in 2015, according to the company, amounted to RUB 1.7 billion — 1.8 times more than in 2014. Evaluation of the Russian Association for electronic communications (RAEC) – to 1.69 billion roubles, the growth year-on-year, experts of RAEC estimated at 77%. According to statistics, “Litres”, the market showed an average annual growth rate of 95% since 2010, when it was estimated at only 60 million rubles Dynamics were explained as the growth of Internet penetration in Russia and the proliferation of mobile devices, said the Anura. According to him, the current sources of growth are almost exhausted, and in the future market will rise more by the improving functionality of mobile devices. Today the share of mobile purchases “Litres” for retail is 48.3%, MyBook is about 90%.
In 2016, the e-book market may grow to 3 billion rubles — about 3.1% of the publishing market of Russia in General, in the future three years, the share is expected to grow to 10-12%, predicts the Anura. In Russia this indicator is lower than in the West, he says: for example, in Germany and France the share of e-books reaches 5%, and in the English-speaking world (primarily in the US and UK) — 25%.
The fight against pirates
Another important point of growth for the market must be efficient the fight against illegal sites, said the Anura. According to him, in Russia, only one of the twenty electronic books is downloaded legally. Complete closure of pirate resources could lead to market growth by 3-5 billion RUB. in monetary volume, said the General Director “Litres”.
The destruction of illegal sites also will increase the audience of book sites, at least twice, said the General Director of the Association for the protection of copyright in the Internet Maxim Rabika. The audience is the biggest pirated book resources — Liter”, “flibusta sites” and others — is around 60 million people, so even if 10-15% of the audience will switch from pirated to legal consumption of books, the market will grow significantly, he points out. According to Rabuka, by the end of 2016 ISAPI hope to lock in the anti-piracy law (that is, with the approval of the Moscow city court) 20-30 largest pirate sites, which accumulate up to 80% of illegal “book” traffic.
By AZAPI in 2015, studied for the content of pirated content 1 million references. As a result, the Association sent about 30 thousand hits in Google and made the removal of 28.5 thousand links from the search results, more than 250 thousand links were removed in the largest Russian social network “Vkontakte”. More than 150 resources systematically began to remove the illegal copies of books, claims ISAPI, more than 50 legalized: as a result, about 500 thousand last pirate book links now lead users to sites legal online stores.