Book lovers living in the island nation of Sri Lanka are in for a treat now that the country is all set to play host to an online e-book store of its own. The emphasis will focus on the literary works by Sri Lankan authors, the electronic versions of which will be hosted for the very first time on the online store for easy download to any PC, Android, or iOS platforms. The book store named Book Hub is to be set up with the combined efforts of Etisalat, local publisher M.D. Gunasena, and Mobile Solution providers Microimage that developed the software behind it all.
The Book Hub will play host to English, Sinhala, and Tamil works, though efforts are already in place to ensure the online store does not just stop at having novels to offer but educational articles, magazines, children’s books, and business oriented journals as well.
Rajiv Gunasena, Deputy Managing Director of M D Gunasena, said, “Our company remains at the forefront of the publishing industry and our imprint has become the hallmark of the publishing industry in the country. All our publications are a cut above the rest and we continuously strive to make a difference in the world of publishing. The rapid developments in information and communication technologies have now presented us with a unique opportunity to enrich the lives of book loving people in Sri Lanka and all over the world. The Book Hub creates a very exciting opportunity for publishers to reach out to readers through the electronic book medium. As a publisher, our wish is that the society as a whole is more enlightened through the wisdom delivered by books.”
Etisalat chief executive Dumindra Ratnayaka revealed they are already in discussion with the education ministry to have more of educational text on the book store, which in turn can be accessed via portable reading devices such as an e-reader or tablet PC.
“It is far easier for a child to carry a tablet to school than a load of books,” he said. “It will be easier for the education ministry to update these books than printed matter.
“We will empower up and coming authors,” Ratnayaka said. “One of their biggest problems is that publishers are not willing to print their work because of the cost of holding it. Now with the ‘Book Hub’ we can open the doors to them.”
What should also be comforting for publishers is that Microimage has developed its own encryption technology for digital rights management (DRM).
“This was a key concern for publishers,” said chief executive of Microimage, Harsha Purasinghe. “We will not use standard DRM. We have written our own encryption technology so it’s hard to crack for hackers.”
Users will be able to pay for the books they want via e-Wallet, which in turn can be updated with fresh funds either via credit cards or Etisalat reload cards. The Book Hub should be in place by the end of March and can be accessed via any telecommunication network to ensure greater reach among book lovers there.