Global Readers of English

In the United States, Digital Book reported, “In 2012, for the first time ever, online channels accounted for more book purchases than bricks-and-mortar retail in the U.S., according to new data from Bowker Market Research.

“In 2012 (through Nov.), 43.8% of books bought by consumers were sold online versus 31.6% sold in large retail chains, independent bookstores, other mass merchandisers and supermarkets. This is nearly a direct reversal of the situation in 2011, when 35.1% of books were sold online and 41.7% were sold in stores.”

In addition, Jeff Bezos said in the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report, “After five years, e-books [are] a multibillion-dollar category for us and growing fast—up approximately 70 percent last year. In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a book seller, up just five percent.” Source: Business (January 31, 2013)

Let’s look at this from a global perspective.

According to the British, there are about 1.5 billion English speakers in the world living mostly in seventy-one countries where there are at least a million or more English speakers (not counting Hong Kong, mainland China has 10 million), but how many are avid readers of English—someone who might buy books published in English?

With more books—including e-books—being sold online, you may want to know how many global readers are out there who might want to read a book published in English.

To get an idea, in this post, we’ll focus on five countries with a potentially large market for books published only in English.

1. United States
2. India
3. United Kingdom

For the United States, Book Business Magazine says 62.4 million Americans (20% of total population) are avid readers and 63% are women—34.9 million—leaving 23 million men.

Among avid readers in America surveyed by the AP, the typical woman reads nine books a year, compared with only five for men. Women read more than men in all categories except for history and biography. Source:

In India, the Deccan Herald quoted Ken Follet saying India has more English speaking readers than England … and increasing numbers of books are being sold here … There are apparently 89 million people in India for whom English is the first language. It is more than the number in England.

In addition, The reported, “Boom time for English-language books in India” … the number of books published in English is growing by 30 percent a year.

And “India is the only country in which books are published in some 18 languages, with English representing the most significant share at approx. 40-45 %. India ranks third behind the USA and England in the publication of English-language books. Source:

In the United Kingdom—population 62.6 million—even with discounting, last year UK consumer publishing drew in sales of £1.7bn, up 36% on 2001. Adult fiction saw an increase of 44%, to £476m; and young adult and children’s fiction … saw sales more than double to £325m. Source:

Canada—population 34.5 millionCBC News reported January 2011, that Canadians buy about 2.7 million books a week. … Canada’s population is about 34.5 million, but 42% of Canadians are semi-illiterate and probably do not read many books leaving about 8.56 million Canadian adults—24.8%—that may be avid readers. Source:

Australia—population about 23 million—isn’t much better than Canada with 47% considered functionally illiterate. “That means they can’t read the instructions on a medicine bottle, they can’t read a map, they can’t read a recipe.” Source:

However, a major survey of how Australia engages with the arts revealed that 85% of Austrians—who had to be literate enough to read and answer the survey—are avid readers of poetry and literature. Source: the

Crunch the numbers and Australia may have 8.3 million avid readers—36%.

Note: To arrive at these numbers, children age 14 and younger were subtracted from the total along with the functionally illiterate.

You may be wondering how authors in, say, America, may sell his or her books in India, for example. Well, that’s where Kobo, Amazon and Apple help out.

Amazon has sold my English language e-books—for example—in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Spain, France and Germany.

Kobo has sold my work in the US, Canada and Great Britain while Apple’s iBookstore has sold copies in the US, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia.

In fact, Apple’s iBookstore is available in 51 countries and offers hundreds of categories including cookbooks, history books, biographies, picture books and children’s books with free books available in 155 countries. Source:

Countries where there is an Apple iBookstore:

Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States


In addition, Amazon sells books in 11 countries:

United Kingdom
United States


Note: On March 18, 2013, it was reported that Amazon opened an iBookstore in Taiwan.

And what about KOBO?

According to Kobo, they have attracted millions of readers from more than 170 countries, and Kobo-owner Rakuten’s CEO Hiroshi Mikitani has additionally stated that Kobo is “number one in France; they’re ahead of Amazon in Japan, partially because of us, and Australia and New Zealand as well.”

Then there is the Sony eBook Library store.

Discover more at Authors Finding Readers


Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

In Defense of Authors Perceived as Behaving Badly – Part 3/3

In conclusion, an author should not argue with a negative reviewer by using the author’s opinions. Instead, the author should use positive reviews from reputable sources to counter the negative review. It is a fact, that some people will write reviews as if his or her opinion is the only one in the world that counts, but that is not true.

It also takes time to gather reputable, credible reviews. It took me four years to gather the credible and positive reviews that I have used to counter some of the negative reviews of my work.

Then after countering a negative review, I suggest that if a reader feels he or she might agree with the negative review, they take advantage of a free sample of the author’s work. For example, Amazon offers a free preview, and I offer free samples on my Websites/Blogs.

In addition, I reply to negative reviewers by saying that he or she has a right to his or her opinion and that a few may agree with that opinion, but there are other reputable opinions that do not agree and then quote from those reputable sources, because these opinions may be used as facts.

After all, they are not the author’s opinions, are they?

Now, how do you earn reviews from reputable and credible sources?

The answer is to write compelling fiction or non-fiction books and to do that, the writer must learn everything there is to know about the craft of writing. There will always be writers that are more talented who write more compelling work that sells more copies, and there will always be writers who write books that cannot compete.

For most of us, the craft of writing must be learned. For example, few, if any, are born with the knowledge and talent to be great wood workers, architects, engineers, inventors or scientists so why should this not be different for the craft of writing?

That’s why it is important to be a literate, life-long learner willing to read how-to books—in addition to reading for pleasure from those writers that have demonstrated what they are doing like Grisham, Hemingway and Paulo Coelho.

Every author, no matter how successful and talented, will have critics and reviewers that will not like his or her work, so get used to it, and disarm the damage they might do by using the opinions of credible sources that may be used as facts to prove that there are readers that enjoy what you write. Don’t use your friends, relatives, a neighbor, anonymous reviewers or paid reviewers or your own opinions to fight this war against negative reviews

As authors, we are not alone when it comes to attracting negative reviews, and I’m going to use a few examples to prove this point:

J. K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Book 1)

  • Of 6,558 reviews on Amazon, ninety-five were one-star and 5,505 were five-star.
  • “I bought this book because everyone finished the entire series and all liked it. seriously I don’t like this book. no originality at all” – Wan
  • “This was the worst book I have ever read in my entire life. I have never read a worst book.” – mom

Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird

  • Of 2,377 reviews on Amazon, eighty-eight were one-star and 1,773 were five-star.
  • “I waited 52 years to read this book. I should have waited 52 more. A real snoozefest. I don’t see what all the fuss is about.” – Nick T. Francone
  • “Pretty darn boring, if it wasn’t required to read in English i would’ve burned it. This type of book isnt for everyone.” – Elizabeth A. Fager

J. R. Tolkien: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

  • Of 2,343 reviews for The Lord of the Rings, ninety were one-star and 1,867 were five-star.
  • “It was a piece of crap. This book was one of the worst books i have ever read.
    I read it once and could barely fumble through it. The charaters, as in some books, don’t lack depth, they DROWN in it. there are WAY to many PASSIVE sentinces. I mean, come on, each page is usually about 3/5 discribing the landscape and telling us useless information about what I care about and about 1/5 of the pages are used for ‘character devlopment’. This is good, and what i personally look for in the FIRST chapter, but this is used THROUGHT THE ENTIRE BOOK. I even fell asleep reading it. I mean WOW. …”  – phd_computer
  • “I’ll start by saying that I am a huge fan of Fantasy novels, but this ‘crux’ of Fantasy literature really disappointed me.”This book has a lot of faults. To begin with, it goes against the first basic rule of writing a book: show don’t tell. As you start the novel, it tells everything and nothing has been shown. Tolkein has just narrated almost everything, starting from the history to the setting, and this gives the novel a feeling as if a child has written it.”Secondly, the book is just too slow. I mean you just start the 1st chapter and you doze off after a couple of pages. The pace might have been fine for the 50’s but it’s just too slow for the double Os!”I don’t know why other people liked the plot so much, but I think the plot was really really weak. The causality in the story is almost non-existant and that is what makes the difference between a jumble of short stories joined loosely together and a good novel.

    “Lastly, the characters could have been much developed with more life in them than mere puppets bound to do the author’s bidding. The chracters are much more Archetyped than they should have been.

    “Overall, I think that it has gotten more attention than it deserved, perhaps because of the movies, and that people are liking it because of some trend or the like” – Minhaj Ali Shahid “Ibtehaj”

Did you notice that these three authors had 9,145 five-star reviews to counter the 273 (less than 3% of the total) one-star reviews? Why should the one-star reviews receive more weight than the five-stars?

Return to Part 2 of In Defense of Authors Perceived as Behaving Badly or start with Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The Secrets to Getting More Book Reviews—even if your book is already out

Note: reprinted with permission from “The Book Marketing Expert Newsletter.” (embedded videos on how to write book reviews have been added by Blog host)

We hear it all the time: “the window for reviews is shrinking,” and yet we still see reviews appearing everywhere. So how can you capture a share of this market? It’s true that often reviews from big-name bloggers go to equally big-name authors. Well, can you blame the blogger? If someone had a choice between reviewing Shades of Grey and one of my recent books, I’m sure Shades would win and I totally get that, but it’s hard when you’re starting out. You often get reviews when you get reviews, so the old adage of “media draws media” is very true. Then where do you start?

Years ago, when I was first in the industry, it was pretty simple. You could find a reviewer, send him or her a copy and that was that. Now, it’s a lot different. Bloggers get hundreds of books mailed to them by publishers on a monthly basis, while book review departments in newspapers have either shrunk or been removed entirely. It’s a whole new world. The good news is that there are still great opportunities to get reviewed, but you need to understand the new rules of exposure.

Blogger reviews: Blogger reviews are still great (even though bloggers are busier than ever) but in order to get your fair share, I recommend networking with the bloggers. How do you do that? By following their blogs and posting authentic and helpful comments on their posts – or by retweeting a review of a book that you particularly loved. Get to know the bloggers you’ll be pitching to. They will also appreciate that you took the time to read their blog, instead of just pitching them. It’s true with any kind of networking. You tend to go to the front of the line when you know someone, right? So get to know the bloggers.

If you have a series of bloggers you are following who are influential but don’t necessarily review books, you could ask them if they might let you guest blog or perhaps run an excerpt of your book on their website or you might coordinate a book giveaway with them. As a blogger myself, I love it when someone writes me for an interview and has actually read our blog. How do I know they’ve done this? Often they’ll weave that into their pitch. For example, “Dear Penny, I saw that you wrote about mobile marketing in January and interviewed Gillian Muessig in May, I think my topic would be a nice addition to your blog because -” See? Now that’s much better than: “Dear Penny, I have an idea for your blog I think you might like.” There’s a chance I will love it, but a far greater chance I won’t because the person pitching just spotted our website and thought: “They might like this.” It takes a bit more work to do it the other way, but your returns will be greater and you’re also building relationships as you go, making the tradeoff worth it.

Review other books: In order to get reviews, you might need to become a reviewer. I know this might sound crazy. Who has time to review books? Well, that’s how we got here in the first place, remember? Reviewing other people’s books (who write about similar topics to you) is not only a great thing to do for your industry but a great way to network. I review every book that’s appropriate to my market (on Amazon). People love peer reviews, trust me. Imagine if the person you’re reviewing reviewed you? See how that works? Make sure to send them the review when you’re done. It’s a boatload of great Karma that could help you get some reviews, too.

Media connections: With newspapers eliminating review departments, how on earth can you get some traction for your book? How about articles and write ups? And even when newspapers do reviews, it can still be a hard road to get them. Especially if your book is self-published, POD or eBook. With 1,500 books published each day, it’s tough to weave through the maze of authors out there trying to get attention for their book, too. Here’s what I recommend. Get to know the media in your market. Pick a series of newspapers in your immediate area or state. You can find a pretty good listing here: You can also select other areas, depending on your book, the reach of your topic or your business. Often smaller regions of the US will still have active review departments so be sure to check all appropriate papers for both reporters who write about your topic, and review department criteria (where they want you to send the book, etc.). By getting to know the reporters who write about your topic, you can network with them early (pre-release) by commenting on articles they’ve written, or offering them ideas or statistics for future pieces. Remember the networking piece for bloggers? That works here, too and it’s a great way to gain attention for your book and get a mention or review in a local or national paper.

Media Leads: I wrote an article on media leads, how to get them and how to respond to them. You can see it here ( and suffice it to say that the sooner you start with this (yes, long before the book is out), the better. It’s another great way to network with a reporter.

Amazon Reviews: We’ve all heard of the big, top ten Amazon reviewers, but like any big-name reviewers they get inundated, too. Amazon is a great portal to expand upon and you should do whatever you can to populate your page with reviews because rarely do readers buy books “naked” (this refers to the book page, not the state of dress). I highly encourage you to review the Amazon list of top reviewers (folks who do post reviews on Amazon) and then pitch the ones that are right for your market. The lure of the top reviewers is that they possess a certain clout, but because of that, the other folks who are solid, faithful reviewers tend to get overlooked. Consider your options with Amazon, and definitely do your research and find some reviewers:

Social sites: Websites like Library Thing and Goodreads offer another great opportunity. First, these communities have millions of very active members and are a great place to garner reader reviews. Both sites have a great Reader Giveaway program that we love and use often; in exchange for handing over a free copy members (winners) are encouraged to post a review of the book. Very win-win if you’re looking to get the word out there about your book.

While the world has changed a lot in regards to reviews, there are still a lot of opportunities out there for getting to the right people and getting those people to talk about your book. Not only that, but building a strong community of media and blogger contacts will help you not just for your current book, but for future titles as well.

Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.


MORE ON THIS TOPIC from the Blog’s host

After watching the embedded videos, if you are still unsure of how to write a proper review, I suggest visiting Scholastic and following their five step plan. Before you know it, you will be writing better reviews than most media professionals.

In addition, the Midwest Book Review is a reputable source for reviews of self-published/indie authors in addition to traditionally published authors. However, be aware that the Midwest Book Review reviews less than a third of the books that are submitted. In addition, the reviews are often shorter than average.

For example: “Many nations adopted modernism in their own ways. ‘The Concubine Saga’ is a historical novel from Lloyd Lofthouse, following famed modernizer Robert Hart, a man who has contributed greatly to China’s advance in the nineteenth century, gaining much power and influence for a foreigner during the period. Drawing on heavily researched passages with great dramatization, ‘The Concubine Saga’ is a strong pick for historical fiction collections, highly recommended.” (68 word review) – July 8, 2012 Midwest Book Review

Note: Established in 1976, the Midwest Book Review is an organization that maintains several book review publications per month. It selects about 450 books to review out of the 1,500 submitted each month. The organization has a focus on serving community and academic library organizations located in California, Wisconsin, and the upper Midwest.

Make sure to also read and study the Midwest Book Reviews Submission Requirements and follow the directions.


Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”