Can Kobo Conquer India?

We may not know if Kobo is launching in China or Russia anytime this year, but it is most definitely coming to India in the short-term. The Toronto-based, Japanese-owned ebook retailer and manufacturer of ereader devices, has confirmed that it will launch in India “soon.”

Kobo has been in discussions with over 200 Indian publishers, including those that haven’t yet started to digitize their content, said Neil, who has been travelling to India for over a year “to understand the Indian book landscape and the Indian reader.”

Kobo will seek to reach the “avid reader” in the Indian market who, he believes, would like to read on a single-purpose device, i.e. an ereader.

Kobo’s open-standards system might well be its unique selling proposition in India, a country where consumers are highly value-conscious and price sensitive. Kobo’s support for EPUB will perhaps work to its advantage, both at the level of content generation as well as at the level of readers’ preference. It could particularly be attractive to the publishing industry, which is dominated by small and medium sized companies, who are at a nascent stage of ebook production and are looking for flexibility in the long run.
Interest in ebooks is gaining momentum in India, particularly in the fiction segment. Publishers of books in the Indian languages are also keenly watching the space and have started to explore the creation of ebooks.

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