Ashok Banker has sold 2.1 million copies of his books, including his retellings of Indian mythological epics, most prominently the eight-book series on the Ramayana. Of these, 180,000, or about 9%, have been sold as e-books or electronic books that people read on mobile devices or PCs. Every month now, 3,000 copies of each of the eight books in the series sell as e-books.
E-books may be at an inflection point in India. For most publishers, ebook sales are between 2% and 5% of business, small compared to the 30% in mature markets where ebooks are mostly read on ebook readers like Amazon’s Kindle.
But the smartphone surge, and the availability of reading apps on them, are redrawing the book market. “Few in India would want to spend a minimum of Rs 7,000 on an e-reader and then pay money to buy e-books,” says Thomas Abraham, MD of Hachette India. “But now, with tablets and smartphones (that you bought anyway) having reading apps, we are seeing the beginnings of what might well be a big change. Last year we saw a quantum jump in sales,” he says.
“Since the launch of the apps we have seen a 5-fold increase in orders and new customers,” says Nipun Mehra, senior director of retail at Flipkart, adding that more than 60% of the readers use smartphones to access e-books.
Children’s comfort with all things digital have made educational titles and children’s books big in this category. “After literature and fiction, the next biggest are academic and test preparation e-books, followed by those on business and economics, and children’s e-books,” says Amazon India. Ganesh C Bhatt, founder of e-publishing company Cosmic Strands, says children’s books are booming in India, and e-learning is gaining momentum.
Image Source : Robert S. Donovan