More than half a million books non-English books in the USA Kindle store
One area where we continue to see growth is in the number of books in the USA Kindle store in languages other than English.
part has 511,843 titles at the time of writing.
The languages breakdown this way:
- Chinese (3,771)
- French (71,336)
- German (180,091)
- Italian (59,286)
- Japanese (29,291)
- Portuguese (30,538)
- Russian (7,998)
- Spanish (116,773)
- Other Languages (11,903)
Those “other languages” cover quite a range…and these categorizations don’t necessarily capture all of the titles.
This how Other Languages expands:
- Afrikaans (2,618)
- Alsatian (19)
- Basque (281)
- Catalan (3,183)
- Danish (586)
- Dutch (2,364)
- Galician (386)
- Greek (2)
- Hindi (90)
- Hungarian (1)
- Icelandic (247)
- Irish (272)
- Latin (13)
- Luxembourgish (6)
- Manx (11)
- Norwegian (420)
- Polish (1)
- Provençal (3)
- Scots (28)
- Scottish Gaelic (6)
- Swahili (102)
- Swedish (516)
- Welsh (296)
When I checked about a year ago
there were 80,230 Spanish books listed…so in one year, it has increased by about 45%.
I think we will continue to see more and more books in languages other than English.
It’s not as simple as someone translating a book, by the way. Even a book available in another language at a different Amazon site, can’t just be made available in the USA Kindle store without licensing it.
There are 3,301,270 books in Amazon’s Kindle store for Spain at time of writing. Those aren’t all in Spanish, I’m sure, but certainly, there are a lot more books in Spanish in the Spanish store than there are in the USA store.
I believe global rights are becoming more common when books are licensed from the author or the author’s estate.
However, that still doesn’t mean that every book in a language will be made available at every site.
In some cases, the publisher may believe that the book is only appropriate in certain countries. A book specifically about a popular telenovela star might not sell well in the USA when it might in Mexico, for instance.
You might figure, “Why not make it available anyway?” I can understand that idea, but there are costs involved with selling a book, including Customer Service.
I’d love to see every book available everywhere, but that’s just unlikely to happen.
By the way, as an example of another language, there is a Klingon translation of Hamlet in the store. Text-to-speech is not enabled on it, though, so I’m not linking to it.
That’s an interesting point by itself.
You need to have an appropriate voice available for a language to work well with TTS. If you try to use an English speaking TTS voice with Spanish, you’ll get massive mispronunciations.
That’s not just because of the difference in vowel sounds.
The way that TTS works is that a voice artist reads lots and lots of material into a system.
Where the system can match up what was read to what’s in the book, it can use that…which is why things like both “Kansas” and “Arkansas” can be pronounced differently, and why there actually is some inflection in phrases.
For more information on that, see
Increasingly, we are getting software that can do better translation, but again, that could fall afoul of copyright laws. Making and marketing a new translation of a book under copyright protection in the USA generally requires authorization. I’m not quite sure how that would work if it was done in a streaming fashion, though, without the translation being set into a “permanent” form. My guess is that might be okay, similar to the way that you don’t need for permission for text-to-speech, but do need it for a recorded audiobook.
I will check back on these counts again in the future.
Bonus story: this
links to a podcast where they had the
on as a guest.
They were doing it tongue in cheek, but this was one of the better demonstrations of what the Echo can do that I’ve seen…er, heard. 😉
I thought I might do something like that (using a synthesized voice to ask the Echo questions) when I eventually get one, and I may still.
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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.