ht-kindleHindustan Times has become the first Indian newspaper to be made available on Amazon’s e-reader Kindle. The paper will be made available on the device at 6:00 am IST everyday, and as a part of an undisclosed revenue share deal, priced at $9.99 (Rs 460 approx) for a months subscription. In October, Kindle was launched in India, a global launch which covered over 100 countries. All major American newspapers are already available on the Kindle. Afaqs reports that Mint is next, and the BCCL group is also planning to make its content available on Kindle.

The Target Market: India or The US?

The target market for the Hindustan Times must be Kindle users outside of India: In Delhi, the paper has a cover price of Rs. 3 on weekdays, and won’t cost more than Rs. 150 for a month. Internet users can get the same content online for free. Why would anybody in India pay more?

Secondly, we’d be surprised if the Kindle has many users in India: the India launch was fairly low key, sans much publicity (online or offline). “We will rely on word-of-mouth publicity” is what Laura Porco, Director, Kindle Books had reportedly said at the launch. Availability of the Kindle is a key issue in India, and there is no offline distribution in place: it is only available online from Amazon.com which limits the number of potential buyers of the e-reader in India.

For a single purpose device, Kindle is overpriced for India. Though the Kindle is priced at $259, the device would cost $405 (approximately Rs. 18,680) by the time it reaches India according to a company spokesperson.