E-BOOKS – ARE INDIAN PUBLISHERS READY YET?

Globally, ebook sales have generated around $389.7 million in revenue in 2011. E-book sales are said to make up 9 % of the global market currently. Even though the global markets for e-books are soaring up, India is yet to catch up. What do the Indian publishers need to do?

India has a huge publishing industry with approximately 19000 publishing houses, publishing in 24 regional languages. We have Indian literature translated into numerous foreign languages. With the right expertise & technology, India has the ability to digitize content for the world audience. However, the Indian publishers are still reluctant. This is mainly due to the lack of awareness of digital publishing strategy.

The primary concern of the publishers is security. However, DRM technologies are now developed to protect content, prevent duplication & limit online usage.  Secondly, the concept of online purchase is not very popular in India. Even though we have 333 million young literate readers in India, the ebook reading community is only 0.05%.

Today, we also have a number of ebook readers to choose from, like Amazon, Kindle, Barnes, Sony reader, Infibeam, etc. The latest reading device launched in India is THE WINK. India has announced the launch of 75 new tablets in the coming year. Also, India is slated to cross the 200,000 unit mark by the end of 2011.

Unlike mature markets like the Europe and the US, where the eBook industry has well defined and sophisticated distribution channels like Amazon and the iBooks Store, and aggregators like Lulu, Ingram, etc, India and other emerging markets do not have the luxury of such a developed ecosystem for digital distribution.

The big question that Indian publishers face today is whether they should build the ecosystem on their own OR do they wait for other mature ecosystems from the US or Europe to come to India? In our opinion Indian publishers need to start thinking in this direction very soon in order to ensure a sustainable future.

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