Amazon is yet to build the kind of success it might have expected out of its India operations, but that is because i’ts only now that tablet devices have started to emerge as the preferred mobile computing platform. eReaders, for their part, never enjoyed the popularity in India that they did in other reading markets.
Another reason for Amazon to lag behind in ebook sales in India is that printed books continue to enjoy wide consumer attention while ebooks so far have been perceived as something that is best left to the tech savvy community. The price sensitive market in India also poses a different set of challenges to Amazon.
As David Limp, Vice President, Kindle in India points out: “We have an entry-level Kindle which is at Rs. 6,000 and people here love that price. But the feedback we’re getting also asks when they can get the Paperwhite at that price. Over time, we want to be able cut costs and offer more features at the entry-level.”
The Kindle Paperwhite costs Rs. 11,000 in India right now, while its 3G counterpart sells for Rs. 14,000. As for the Kindle Fire, the range starts at Rs. 16,000.
“Over a period of time, it won’t happen tomorrow, the technology might migrate downwards. Until then, we’re going to try to span across many price points,” said Mr. Limp.
Meanwhile, the VP further added that they are still on the lookout for their ‘Manga moment’ in India. Aamzon found success in Japan after having taken the popular comics in its stride. They are still on the look out for the Manga equivalent in India, though such a thing has been elusive so far.
“Yes, we are [talking to Indian publishers], but, more importantly, we’re trying to learn the intricacies of this market. In Japan, for instance, Manga comics is an important category for reading. Once we optimised for that, we saw success… we’re looking for an equivalent of that in India,” said Limp.
An encouraging trend so far is that, along with an increase in the sales of smartphones and tablet devices in India, there has also been a rise in acceptance of ebooks and emagazines as well.