Amazon has launched the Kindle Store for the Indian market on Amazon.com, which will feature e-books available for purchase in Indian currency. Following the launch of the e-books store, Kindle e-book reader devices will also be available offline at Croma retail outlets across India. According to the company, the latest generation Kindle will launch exclusively in all Croma stores across India at an introductory price of Rs 6,999, although it would continue to be available on Amazon.com with shipment to India. Update: The Kindle is also available on Croma’s online store.
The India Kindle Store claims to offer over one million books, including 70 of 100 Nielsen Bestsellers. The Kindle e-reader allows users to wirelessly download and read books on an electronic-ink screen (not back-lit) that looks and reads similar to real paper.
e-books vs physical books: Although Kindle loyalists, had been purchasing and reading books, paying in dollars, from Amazon.com, for a long time, the availability of books in Indian prices would give a boost to sales, as users will not incur currency conversion charges and mark-up fee, and publishers will be able to offer e-books at cheaper prices. Compared to physical books, e-books can be cheaper at times: Take for example, the current hot-seller, Fifty Shades of Grey: the Kindle edition of the book costs Rs 222, while the same book is available in physical bookstores at Rs 300-350; Flipkart offers the physical book at Rs 250. Kindle also lets users sync the same book across multiple devices and read them through its native and web apps (there is a limit to the number of devices one can register, though). So it’s more convenient, specially for readers who don’t mind trading the charm of real paper books with the convenience of e-books.
– Amazon also launches publishing platform: Amazon has also launched Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for independent authors and publishers in India, through which authors and publishers can make their books available to Kindle customers in India and around the world on both Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps. New features for authors and publishers in India include the ability to set prices specific for India, as well as receive royalty payments in rupees.
Note that Apple also offers a publishing platform, and digital book store, however, paid books are not available in the Indian iBooks store.
We’re now looking at Flipkart, which had launched its digital music store, to jump into the e-books bandwagon. However, Kindle would have an advantage, being the early entrant and with its popular device eco-system.