You can get each book in simplified or traditional characters now, and just in time for the holiday season!
What was the problem?
The Kindle platform for small publishers and self-publishers allows you to publish books only in certain languages, Chinese not being one of them. That being said, Chinese books would usually get through and we were able to offer our books on Kindle.
However, about two years ago, something changed within Kindle and our attempts to publish new ebooks on their platform were unsuccessful. From what I was able to discover, the content management team at Kindle had upped their game and had begun more thorough checks thereby blocking any new Chinese language book that came onto the platform.
I can’t begin to tell you how many hours I have spent exchanging emails back and forth with the Kindle team continually getting the reply that “this book is in a language currently not supported by Kindle”. Email exchanges like this were commonplace for a period of about a year while I continued to try and get our books approved on the Kindle platform. I contacted different departments at Amazon, got in touch with a former classmate who use to work on the Kindle team for help, and even asked in our newsletter for help from anyone who might know someone on the Kindle team, but all was in vain.
I ended up discovering that the US Kindle team only officially supports languages where they have staff with proficiency in that language in case the content needs to be reviewed by human eyes. Surprisingly, KDP supports some unexpected languages:
- Three dialects of Norwegian (Bokmål, Nynorsk, and Norwegian).
- Manx with only 1,800 speakers all located on the Isle of Mann.
- Luxembourgish spoken by 390,000 people located in Luxembourg.
- North Frisian, a minority language of Germany, spoken by about 10,000 people.
- Provençal, a variety of Occitan spoken by less than 250,000 people in southern France.
- Romansh, a Romance language spoken predominantly in the southeastern Switzerland with an estimated 36,000 native speakers.
- Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic language native to Scotland with an estimated 57,000 fluent speakers.
- Even Japanese with 125 million native speakers.
I think it is incredibly admirable the lengths that the Kindle team has gone through to support some of these languages, especially ones that are in risk of being lost. However, I am still unclear why the US Kindle team has chosen not support a language spoken by 16% of the world population with an estimated 1.2 billion native speakers. I also don’t think KDP was amused when I asked to speak with their Manx language speaker on their content review team 😉.
What I have learned is that most of the Chinese books available on Kindle are published by larger publishers who have a different type of account and are not subject to the same language restrictions smaller publishers are.
What has changed
Recently, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) merged their operations with CreateSpace, the print-on-demand arm of Amazon. Due to recent changes, we are back in business and we have been able to get our ebooks onto Kindle!
While Chinese is still not an officially supported language by Kindle, we anticipate all of our future books will also be available on Kindle as soon as they are released to the public. This will make things easier for all of our readers, especially those who are in areas where it is not as easy to obtain a print copy!
Get your copy today!