Wednesday, October 03, 2012

E-books are here to stay

- Chellamuthu Kuppusamy

On these days of Early October 2012, when I am writing this, it is difficult to miss someone or the other holding a Kindle and reading an e-book in London tubes (underground city trains). A remarkable thing indeed ! Amazon has reported its ebook sales has outnumbered the sales of printed books in the UK last year. This of course does not include the free ebooks that are downloaded for reading through Kindle.

That Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James has sold two million copies in the past four months indicates a change in trend in the publishing industry. The growth of ebooks and e-publishing is not only here to stay, but also set to grow.

Expenses related to printing and logistics of handling books & delivering them psychically are done away with e-books. Also the reader does not have to carry a box full of books while going out on vacation. Kindle is a cool device to read e-books and it can carry virtually very many number of books that you can afford to buy. The reader only pays a little, most of the times up to 50% of the print edition, for the e-books.

Amazon has introduced a program called KDP, Kindle Direct Publishing. People not winning approval from traditional publishers, who print books in lot and distribute through their established marketing network, can find it a revolutionary thing. However this sudden removal of entry barrier makes everyone with a laptop that has working keyboard and time to kill ‘author’, thus creating millions of useless, not so professional works that create chaos.

Quality is the word. Established publishing houses have in-house editorial teams that not only correct the language, but also validate factual errors. Not to say that every printed book is a master piece, but there is an element of scrutiny to select a manuscript to transform it into a book which at least ensures the publisher he will get the money he puts to print them out.

It is only logical to conclude the result. Exceptionally high number of sales for some book does not mean commercial success for the book. Unlike traditional publishing, in the virtual world due to lack of quality of large portion of self-published e-books and lack of attention to good works equation is tilted greatly. Here the author, not the publisher, will have to promote the book – not to mention the problem that reader confronts in deciding what to read from the cyber space.

E-books is a nascent things in India and provide huge potential for growth. Traditional publishing will have to accommodate the growth and both the forms will have to complement each other.

The good news is that to read an e-book bought from amazon.com you don’t need a kindle device. Kindle Aps for windows (of Ipad or whatever platform) can be installed and e-books can be read on your PCs.

E-books are here to stay and grow.

5 comments:

SP(ஒளிச்சுடர்) said...

Agree, eBooks are going to be the way ahead. With more smart phones and tablet already in the market any ePub books are likely to have more readers for coming days. But we need more connectivity and affordable devices to reach tire two cities, which may take more years. Till then both traditional and ebooks will get equal priorities for any publisher or author.

Ashutosh said...

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Kamesh Jayachandran said...

Some of the advantages of Amazon eBooks:

* Normally I feel guilty while crossing my book shelf as I often have 40% of purchased books as unread. With kindle you can request a sample book which gives a good intro about the book based on that you can decide to buy. If you can afford to read 20-30 page sample book you would most likely read the full paid book.

* If you get tired you can do "text to speech conversion" and here. This feature is available only on kindle device.

* Kindle device has dictionary integration so that you can highlight a text and find its meaning without switching context.

* If publisher allows it you can loan your books to your friends.

* If you switch devices/reader apps it can synchronize your reading page.

* Based on your reading speed it would say how long it would take to complete reading the book.

Karthik SK said...

Kupps,
Very useful information.
Now I am using this app for reading several kindle books including the ones written by you.
Reds,
Skk

Karthik SK said...

Hi Kupps,
Very good information.
I am using this app for reading few kindle books including yours
Rgds,
SKK