Ebooks are starting to outstrip print sales for smaller presses. And the beauty of the eBook sold over the Internet that there is only a small cost if selling the product to a buyer almost anywhere on the planet. And there’s no storage or printing costs. Once the eBook is laid out and the cover made, the works can be uploaded to the distributor and sales made from there on with little or no upkeep or worry for the seller.

Since these books can be delivered so easily to almost anywhere on the globe, the next question is what sort of markets are there outside of the hi-tech Western nations?

And the answer is: Potentially very, very large.

China and India — both English speaking nations — seem posed to become major buyers in the near future. According to The Times (India), in 2010 the Chinese read 613 million electronic books. Likely the numbers are even higher today.

Right now a lot of those eBooks are produced Chinese companies. And many of those from outside China may be pirated or public domain titles whose copyright has run out. But imagine the potential market that is waiting if only a fraction of the market can be tapped into by US writers.

Readers in India also download a lot of pirated eBooks. But again this market has a huge number of potential buyers should the piracy be brought into check. Amazon and others are tapping into that market with Kindle eBook sales as well as POD (print on demand) book titles.

Already India is one of the five nations that has been a major adopter of eBooks (along with Australia, the USA, and Britain according to Bowker.) By way of perspective, Bowker has found there were 60 million eBooks bought by US readers in 2012; during that time there were nearly 25 million Indian eBook buyers (in February 2012).

Here’s the kicker: Only two percent of the Indian population is now reading eBooks. That means even if fewer than 10 percent of the population were to become eBook buyers, they could easily outstrip the number of sales in the US (which is currently the largest market for selling eBooks).

Now you might have noticed I wrote there were five early adopters of eBooks and never mentioned the fifth. That’s because it will come as a surprise to many: Brazil. Somewhere around 15 million Brazilian eBook purchases were made in 2012. That put it ahead of every nation but the US. And as with India, only a small percentage of Brazilians are now buying eBooks; seven percent at last count.

So there are some huge potential markets out there for folks selling eBooks to a world market.

Of course many of the new books for these markets will undoubtedly be written by those living in their native lands. And there’s that nagging problem of piracy.

However, the piracy situation may slowly come under control, and if it does, sales of eBooks may explode in ways the print industry has only dreamed of in the past.

Of course the trick is getting there from here, with the caveat that history doesn’t always unfold the way self-proclaimed “futurists” like me think it will.