It looks like National Book Trust India, the autonomous publication house which works under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, is planning to create e-books and offer it for purchase to the public through its e-store. The organization has put out an ‘Expression of Interest’ notice, inviting software development agencies/firms who provide similar services to reputed publishers in India and abroad.

What will the designated company do?

– Create e-Books: According to the notice, the agency will be responsible for creating e-books in English, Hindi and other Indian languages. The organization noted that these e-books should be compliant with ePub 3.0 version, the latest and the current version of the ePub standard and should have features like chapter previews, ability to highlight text, annotation mode, flip mode i.e. the ability to flip pages like a physical book and interactive table of contents section among others. The company should also ensure that the e-book is compatible with all the latest devices like iPad, Kindle, iPhone and Android devices.

Convert existing books to e-Books: The company will be responsible for creating and converting physical hard copy books into interactive e-books in ePub format.

Create and Maintain an E-Store: The company should manage the content gateway, the store front and the payment gateway for the e-store. It will also be responsible for managing the catalogue with e-ISBN, users, and clients.

DRM locked books: The notice also indicates that the books will be DRM locked and will be distributed to the distributors of the Trust through its API solutions.

Mobile Apps? One of the pre-requisites in the expression of Interest is also the ability to develop mobile apps including iOS, Android and other tablet devices, which indicates that National Book Trust also plans to offer iOS and Android mobile and tablet apps in the future.

NBT’s web store

Interestingly, NBT India also sells books online on its website. Users can browse books across book series on different subjects, by format, by language, and by age. Users can order books paying by Credit/Debit cards, however, there’s a shipping charge. The site also offers a search feature through which it lets users search for book by title, authors and ISBN.

It would be interesting to see organisations like the NBT going the e-book way. We only hope that it would enable them to further cut costs and make available children’s books, books in Indian languages and books related to national interest in digital format. Indian book retailers like Landmark have launched their own e-book stores, following the launch of Amazon’s Kindle e-books store in the country.

Anupam Saxena also contributed to this post

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