Publishing an eBook in Malaysia is more challenging than climbing Mt. Kota Kinabalu


Today, I want to talk about writing or publishing an ebook from Malaysia. I've been trying for a few months, and from time to time, it's more challenging than climbing Mount Kinabalu. I have a few points that I want to share with you. If you are looking to publish an ebook to build your brand name, your personal IP, or any other purposes hope this will be helpful to you.

3 Popular Online Bookstores

So, let's start off with how do you publish an ebook? The first way to publish e-books is via Google Play Store. Why do I recommend Google Play Store as the first choice? Because Google Play Store are the main Android system being used worldwide. Without having a second thought, by publishing your ebook into Google Play Store, you will ultimately get the widest coverage. Even if you are an iOS user, you can still download the Google Play Book onto your phone or iPad to read it. I'll come back to the challenges related to Google Play Store later, but here you go. This is the first step for writing your ebook: convert it into a PDF or ePub format, design a nice cover page, and easily upload it to Google Play Store. Now, mark my words here, I said upload, not publish.

Let's move on to the second option, which is publishing your ebook to Apple Books. Apple Books is not readily available in Malaysia. Even if you have an iPhone or iPad, you can download Apple Books, but only free books are available, I guess those books are originally from Apple. There aren't any third-party publishers with ebooks available for sale in the Malaysian market. Nevertheless, here I'm talking about uploading your ebook to Apple Stores, not publishing for sale in Malaysia.

Now, the third option is to publish your ebooks on Amazon's Kindle store. It's almost the same process: write your ebook, and nowadays, no software is required. You need to use a web portal, upload your ebook in PDF or ePub format, press a few buttons, and then upload and publish it. 

These are the first three major stores, Google Play Store, Apple Store, and Amazon Kindle Store. Now, let's talk about the fourth option, which is exploring third-party solutions that cater more to your own country. For instance, in my country, there is another store called Kobo by Rakuten. The process is pretty easy; you just need to create an account, upload your PDF file or ePub format, set the pricing, and publish the book. In short, these are the four ways you can publish or upload your ebooks. Sounds easy, right? Let's move on to the challenges.

The Challenges

The challenges for the first three major stores, Apple, Google Play Store, and Amazon Kindle, can be summarized as follows:

The first challenge pertains to the countries where you are allowed to sell your ebooks. For Apple and Amazon, uploading and publishing are straightforward, but there is a limitation—you are only allowed to sell your ebooks in certain countries. Different stores have different country restrictions. Unfortunately, Apple and Amazon do not allow ebook sales in Malaysia, so if your target market is Malaysia, this option is not available to you. If anyone knows the reason or any way to solve this, please let me know.

The second challenge is a technical one, and it mainly happens with Google Play Store. While uploading is easy, getting through the final stage, which involves review or auditing, can be problematic. You need to set up a Google Partner account linked to your Google account, and once done, you upload your book. However, some users, including myself, have encountered issues where their accounts are inexplicably deactivated during this process. Even after careful review, there are no apparent copyright or sensitive content violations. This issue seems to persist outside the United States, and Google's support system may not be as robust in certain regions. While many Malaysians have successfully published ebooks on Google Play Store, there is no clear solution to this problem.

The real challenge in Malaysia is publishing (not uploading) and selling the ebook. If you are facing similar issues, I hope this information provides some insight before you proceed. If your goal is to sell ebooks overseas rather than specifically in Malaysia, you may have better luck or fewer hurdles to overcome. That's it for my thoughts and experiences with ebook publishing, and I hope it helps you."


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