Ebooks booming globally but print yet to stay in India

In my last post itself, I had written about ebooks picking up faster than estimated internationally. But as I had thought, the trend of physical vs. ebooks sales does not seem to be following the same curve in India. Here is an update on e-book industry in India which came in press recently – Craze for ebooks yet to catch on in India

So, Indian publishing industry is still gung ho about the printed books only. Despite the prices being dropped in India, Amazon Kindle has managed to sell only 2000 numbers locally which is very meager if we compare it with overall Kindle sales globally. We even have a more economical version of ebook reader ‘PI’, but even there the sales do not seem to be impressive enough to give reasons to publishers to launch digital version of their books.

Predictable, isn’t it? Despite being so heavily into digital medium,for everything else, somehow as a consumer this whole digital book stuff and a separate device to read such books always leaves me wondering on the feasibility of overall ebook industry in India on a larger scale. Not that it would never pick up, in fact Indian consumers are undoubtedly the most unpredictable ones, but I think digital book adoption is still years away as far as Indian market is concerned. Now think of these points:

  • In a market which is so heavily dominated by movies or books piracy and considering the price conscious mass consumers of India, isn’t a separate device and that too of minimum Rs. 10k to read digital books a difficult blockage for e-book adoption?
  • Even if you buy one and the device needs internet connectivity, then where are such easily accessible connections for you to download the books on the go?
  • I’m not even sure how many consumers actually pay for original copies of printed books in India? Will this digital version of the books actually accentuate the chances of digital piracy?
  • Will it help if text books are launched as digital versions in some high end schools for better market penetration in India?

Don’t you think that as far as this industry is concerned, the buying behavior of Indian consumers will take some time to change and adapt to the digital world? Well, ebooks are definitely outselling physical books globally but from the current state of this market in India, seems like print industry is definitely going to stay for some time now. And I’m happy for the same because as I always say, I prefer to read books (esp. fiction ones) in a printed book format only :-). Thank god, Indian consumers like me don’t need to worry about changing our consumption pattern so soon.

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