Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews
How do you increase ebook sales in India, where the cost of the ebook reader at Rs7000 is pretty high? You buy an ebook reader and then also pay for every book you download.To many that is an exorbitant price ; it is cheaper to buy pirated or marked-down copies that are sold in the few bookstores that remain, and at traffic lights by enterprising vendors. That’s the reason why even when ebooks now account for nearly 30% of all sales in the US, in India they only contribute a marginal 2 to 5%.
But the one thing that changed the landscape of Indian communication is quietly at work…and may lead to the success of ebooks in India in the near future. The mobile phone, specifically, the smartphone.
India is one of the largest users of the smartphone; nearly 156 million use them and this number is expected to double to about 364million according to the research firm, Mediacells. The reading apps that the smartphones bring with them are set to tip the scales in favour of ebooks. At the click of a button, you can download a book in a few seconds, and read on the go everywhere – waiting at the airport, in a coffee shop, in the train or even stuck in bad traffic.
India’s largest online store Flipkart also launched its own free e-book reader app that works across multiple platforms. And since the launch of the reader in Nov2012, the sales of ebooks have seen a eight fold growth, and almost 60% of its readers use smartphones to access the e-books.
Sure,as many point out, reading on the smartphone is not a very smart idea. The back-lit screen stresses the eye, unlike the e-book readers that use the e-ink technology to make for a smoother reading.
No one is complaining though. For now, it is a great thing to be able to use one’s smartphone to read on the go!