India Ready for E-Readers?

Last week an Indian company EC media launched India’s first e-reader—the Wink, especially tailored to serve the country needs, like ability to support 15 Indian regional languages and an extensive tie up with India prominent publishing companies for varied content(the Wink is expected to give owners access to more than 500,000 books, journals, newspapers and magazines). The specs of the e-reader look good. Obviously the company intends to see its E-reader in as many Indian hands as possible.

But all this raises one important and basic question:

Is India Ready for E-Readers? Or Have Indians transitioned from traditional books to e-Books?

While a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts study reported that Americans were spending less time reading books, a Maryland-based market research firm recently found out that e-reader owners read more than they earlier did.

Below are some data from some recent studies to help arrive at some answer:

1) Only 42% of the people that buy books in India are habitual readers (according to a survey in Tehelka Magazine).

2) 20% of the people said they had read e-books. 92% of them read those e-books on a PC, and not on reading devices like Apple’s iPad, Amazon’s Kindle or Sony’s Daily Reader(according to a survey in Tehelka Magazine).

3) According to a survey by the National Council of Applied Economic Research published in the Financial Express “there are only around 83 million non-syllabus book readers in India”. The study focused on literate youth all over the country.

4) Some of the biggest buyers of books in India are libraries, and they only buy bound books.

Basic Wink XTR, has started selling at Chroma electronics stores for 11,490 rupees from today.
It’s only to be seen how Indian buyers respond to it.

Do you think India has reached a stage where it’s ready for a device that is primarily for reading? --------


Cammie Novara said...

When I first saw this web review my conclusion was that Tech 24 Hours regulars simply have to read this: . I just don't get renting a laptop at all! The cost of renting a laptop for only about two weeks will set you back as much as outright purchasing the portable PC!

Mr Bisht said...

@Cammie Novara______Rather than looking at the money people put in western countries for laptop rentals; one should look at Indian netbook or laptop market (add e-reader too) from the perspective of purchasing power parity the country has.

A particular device even if considered a great buy in other countries will still be assumed costly in India from ppp pov.

In addition, when it comes to devices that are pitched as doing some specific task(like Wink e-reader); India becomes at once totally uninterested. That's the reason, even though the country has many low cost netbooks available in the price range of 200 dollars; people are still buying the 600 dollar laptops; and paying for features they never use at present or will use in future.