January 2019
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‘Techbooks’ instead of Textbooks: Turning point for e-books

ICTpost Education Bureau

Wi-Fi penetration in offices, homes, public places and airports is on the rise and we don’t see this as a roadblock to Kindle’s adoption

Two years back, US e-commerce giant Amazon launched its Kindle Store in India, claiming to have the largest selection of any e-bookstore in India. The India Kindle Store offers over one million e-books, priced in Indian rupees, including 70 of the top selling editions.

The market for e-books is at a nascent stage in India but there are signs of growth. Amazon has taken baby steps into the domestic market by launching an exclusive Kindle store for India, making e-books available at a cheaper rate. You can now pay for e-books in Indian rupees as against US dollars.

Digital textbooks have gotten a lot of ink in recent years. In January, Apple attracted attention when it announced its foray into the field with the iBook, a multimedia-rich textbook for the iPad produced by the biggest educational publishers and costing less than $15. The next month, Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, unveiled the Obama administration’s Digital Learning Playbook and called for all students to use digital textbooks by 2018.

The new-generation Kindle features a six-inch electronic ink display similar to real paper. However, it supports only a Wi-Fi connection.  Wi-Fi penetration in offices, homes, public places and airports is on the rise and we don’t see this as a roadblock to Kindle’s adoption, especially since the e-book library and content support on devices like tablets, personal computers and mobiles is already available with Kindle.

E-books can be purchased through online channels such as Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Baker and Taylor or ebooks.com. E-books are available in formats compatible with different e-readers (Kindle, iPad, Nook, Sony Reader and others). They can also be accessed through cloud libraries on your laptops/desktops or through compatible reading apps on your mobile phones.
In the West, there are instances of e-books and e-readers nudging traditional bookstores out of business. In that respect, have e-books made a late entry into India? Some experts say that it is a late entry if one looks at how e-books have outstripped the supply of traditional books in other countries. But if we look at the low penetration of reading devices (e-readers and tablets) in India, we aren’t late. editor@ictpost.com