With e-readers (The iPad, Amazon Kindle & the Infibeam Pi to name a few) and digital reading equipments spreading all over the market, book publishers are really having a hard time selling paperbacks. Although many publishers may claim that they are not affected at all but some where down their mind, they too must be having the fear of these new generation reading devices taking down the book publishing business.
India is a tough place to do book business owing to the low book prices here and with ever rising piracy making sure pirated editions of books are already selling at traffic signals before original copies arrive at the book stores, John Makinson (CEO of Penguin) feels that introducing digital and interactive content books in India may take care of the problems of piracy. And the digital versions being well compatible with the new generation e-reader devices, Penguin India feels that it can do good business by offering digital versions of books over mobile phones and e-readers.
Now do you really think digital delivery of books will be a success? If you ask any avid book reader, he / she will instantly agree to the fact that there is nothing like reading from a paperback edition of a book and no one actually prefers reading a book from a screen. Okay, I do agree with the fact that these e-reader devices have screens which are eye soothing and all but still the feel of reading a book from paper can never be replaced. Penguin India has plans of introducing interactive content in the digital versions of their titles and they feel this interactiveness is what readers may want to enjoy and start switching to digital content gradually.
Penguin India also has huge digital marketing plans for these e-books. With 3G being the talk of the day plus the huge growth in mobile subscriber base, these definitely become the preferred medium of digital delivery for the content. Physical distribution of books is again a matter of concern for publishers in Tier 2 and 3 cities of India. In such areas where internet and mobile outreach has definitely penetrated more than book distribution, delivery of digital versions of the books via online communities, facebook applications, live streaming are some of the best media available to the publishers. And as far as the concern of publishers regarding piracy in India, I feel digital distribution will only give rise to this petty crime!
Original Image via Mediabistro