The growth of the ebooks industry in India has been slow but fascinating. So far, the country has been a nation of lovers of books in print. However, in 2014, the ebooks market stands at 2% of the overall $2 Billion publishing industry in India. Still small you might think. But this is an emerging market, and the only way is up.
Opportunities are available to all players in the self-publishing sub-sector, including authors, editors, independent publishing companies, ebook reading app developers, device manufacturers and suppliers, and online retailers and distributors. In particular, self-published authors have a perfect opportunity to build up audiences with their work. Below are 5 reasons why now is the best time to self-publish in India:
1. Smartphone sales are the hottest
People in India prefer to read ebooks through smartphones, as dedicated devices only for reading ebooks are still costly. This perception might change if the prices of these devices come down. For now though, smartphones as the main places where ebooks are consumed, mainly on apps installed on them.
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So, as a self-published author, your titles will most likely reach readers on their smartphones. The good news is that the popularity of these devices will continue to rise. Currently there are an estimated 117 Million smartphone users the country and this just represents 10% of the population. This is expected to increase to a whopping 520 Million by 2020.
2. If Narendra Modi can do it, so can you
“India has won! Good days are coming”, tweeted Narendra Modi when he won the election in May and became prime minister of India. Social media was a massive part of the prime minister’s election campaign, and since his inauguration, Mr Modi’s following has continued to grow from 4.2 Million to 6.5 Million. By the end of 2014, India is expected to have 18.1 Million Twitter users, which would be the third largest Twitter population in the world.
Earlier in the year Facebook announced that 100 Million users of its platform were in India. This offers massive opportunity for self-published authors to market their ebooks to audiences. Facebook allows the creation of highly targeted ads, which you can use to target potential readers of your work. If you have some marketing budget, then test it out.
3. Self-publishing in India is getting popular
You can approach self-publishing companies in India directly. Some of these such as Pothi.com based in Bangalore, will let you publish your ebook for free, letting you keep 75% of royalties on every title when purchased through their online store. You can self-publish with others such as Notion Press of Chennai for a fee. A lot of these organizations also offer a range of other paid services such as editing, proofreading, ebook cover design, marketing and distribution should you need them.
4. The lions will help you to increase your reach
Amazon KDP has been running in India for just over 2 years now. Hence, if you self-publish through KDP, your title(s) will end up on the Amazon.in website for sale. Flipkart, India’s equivalent of the mighty Amazon is on a mission to continue increasing their stock of ebooks and currently boasts having 300,000 titles.
If you’re distributing your ebooks through Smashwords then ensure you’ve selected distribution to Flipkart. You could be missing on sales if you’re not. Both Amazon and Flipkart are expanding their operations in India. In July, Flipkart raised a further $1 Billion dollars and in August, Amazon reported plans to invest a further $2 Billion in India.
5. Don’t forget the powerful emerging cubs, especially for regional ebooks
Not only do the large retailers want your ebooks, so do the smaller players. If you have a number of titles under your belt, don’t be surprised if businesses such as those who have developed ebook reading apps like Handygo’s Rockstand in New Delhi and Ve Se’s NewsHunt in Chennai, contact you requesting a partnership to distribute your ebooks.
If you want to self-publish your ebooks in one of the country’s regional languages, then these companies are the ones to talk to. Another company to watch out for is Swiftboox, who is not only looking to raise the profile of their online ebook store, but also offer self-publishing tools for authors. Contact a few of these and see what could be on offer.
Image credit: Eric Kim on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]