Rockstand, an e-book initiative by Handygo Technologies, has partnered with Vodafone India to offer operator billing to its customers on Vodafone network. The financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.
Following the tie up, Rockstand users on Vodafone network will be able to buy digital content available on the app and pay through their mobile bill/balance. Besides this, Vodafone users will be able to purchase books and magazines at Rs 7 per day, which will be much cheaper than current price of ebook and emagazines offered on the app.
The reason why this is interesting is that currently none of the ebook apps including the ones by Google, Flipkart, and Amazon (among others) support operator billing for in-app purchases. Users can typically make a purchase through credit cards, making it difficult for a developer to monetize as credit cards are not widely used in the country.
The Rockstand app is available on Android smartphone platform and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. In February 2013, Rockstand had partnered with publishers like Diamond Comics Books, OM Books, Rajkamal Prakashan, Katha, Times Group and Pratham. At that time, the company had claimed that it also plans to partner with Disney by end of this financial year. In August 2013, it had partnered with Delhi Press, Next-Gen Publishing, Hay market, BPB Publications & Magna Publishing.
Rockstand allows publishers to share the pdf of the books with RockASAP Retail Pvt Limited which are then converted by them into ePub. Rockstand bears the cost of digitizing the books.
E-Books and E-Magazine stores
E-commerce ventures like Amazon, Flipkart, Skoolshop.com, learnpedia.in, among others, offer e-books and some offer an ebook app as well. There’s also Vriti and thedigilibrary.com, although, they only seem to provide books for entrance exams. In February 2013, Google finally added an e-books section to its content marketplace Google Play in India, allowing users to purchase e-books to their mobile phones and tablets. Google also offers an separate app for magazines, which is not available in India yet.