Friday, March 14, 2014

The Growth of E-books and Self-Publishing

Business Insider writes about how e-books are enticing Indians while authors are leveraging self-publishing technology.

Via Business Insider

According to a survey carried out in October last year, India had around 55.48 crore mobile users and 14.32 crore Internet users, and mobile penetration stood at a whopping 70.96% in the country. In a nutshell, an average Indian is open to experimenting with technology and e-books could be a gadget of choice in the near future.

"We thought e-books would take about 10 years to become a norm in India, compared to the west. The west opened up to e-readers and simply integrated it into its lifestyle, but we thought India would not change that fast. Even now, digital publishing and e-book readers are not the norm here. But in two years or less, things will surely change," says an editor working with HarperCollins India.

Yes. Even the statistics confirm that e-books are yet to become a rage in India. PricewaterhouseCoopers' study of e-book trends showed a staggering 9% growth in the western markets, which is projected to grow to 22% by 2017. In India, however, the market is a mere 1%, with projections still unclear. On the flip side, it also means that the e-reader market is quite huge here and its growth potential is still untracked in India.

The reason is simple. Most contemporary Indian authors are now tech-savvy and realise the possibilities of technology-aided reach, which could be better than traditional publishing and distribution. Moreover, in spite of signing formal contracts with publishing houses, many authors have now realised that self-publishing an e-book ensures better reach-out to target audience and of course, bigger royalties.

The 'early bird' syndrome is another emerging trend in the Indian market. The pecking order has changed and the first-time authors, who used to make a beeline for publishing houses, are now opting to self-publish their books on the Internet, thus getting a clear picture of their book sales. Now, it is the turn of conventional publishing houses to woo them back into their fold, with increased royalty or added advantages. But even then, an author may opt for self-publishing it on Amazon or any other suitable platform.

With e-publishing in place, the market players are realising the full potential of regional languages and their popularity. Most of the NRI population is still loyal to their native literature. So self-publishing in regional languages could be an equally profitable proposition.

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