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Summary:

Twenty-four percent of Indian adults with Internet access have bought an ebook. Now that group could get a lot bigger: Amazon has launched a standalone Kindle Store in India and is selling Kindle exclusively through Indian electronics chain Croma.

Kindle 1
photo: Amazon

Amazon does not yet operate a general e-commerce site in India, but it is now selling ebooks there. On Wednesday the company launched the India Kindle Store (www.amazon.com/kindlestoreindia), which sells over a million titles priced in Indian Rupees.

Indian customers can’t buy a Kindle through the store, but they can get one at Indian electronics chain Croma for 6,999 Indian Rupees (USD $126). It looks as though Croma is selling the basic, non-touchscreen Kindle that retails for $79 (with ads) in the United States.

In June, I wrote about the ebook transition in India. In a presentation at Publishers Launch BEA, Bowker’s Kelly Gallagher said that 24 percent of Indian adults with Internet access have bought an ebook. It’s key to look at the size of the overall population combined with the Internet penetration rate: “Suddenly, India becomes the second largest potential market” after the United States. The transition is primarily led by professional, business and academic ebooks, he said — 80 percent of Indian ebook buyers have bought an ebook in one of those genres.

In February, Amazon launched the Junglee.com marketplace in India. The site aims to match sellers and buyers. Many Indian customers already use Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.co.uk offers free super saver shipping to India. Amazon is also building a fulfillment center in Mumbai.

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  1. 24% of Indian Adults with Internet Access have bought an ebook? Where do they get (make up) this information from?

    I have spent a lot of time in India over the last 10 years and I would be surprised if the ebook penetration for individuals with Internet Access is as high as 0.24%.

    Presumably these figures are based on a questionnaire on an ebook site enthusiast site which asked the web sites users if they had ever purchased an ebook and then considered this group representative of all Indians.

  2. Jeremy is absolutely right: Even .24% seems unlikely given India’s population. It’s true that ebooks have found a good following in india but those are the free ones circulating via file sharing sites. I am a student in a post graduate engineering course and although almost every one here uses academic ebooks, no-one is even aware they are using a copyrighted product. copyright laws are unheard of here specially when it comes to books. If its a file, it should be free is what they beleive. maybe availability of cheap ebook readers would change the scenario but that’s a longshot.

  3. Now those in India can buy my kindle book, The Strategic Intelligence of Trust.

  4. Jeremy and Shashak are right !!
    No way 24% of indians with internet access are buying ebooks.
    We dont even sell that many physical books. LOL

    Another problem is that the price of ebooks is very high in india, its cheaper to buy physical books, which can then be shared among people.

    I have 45 people working in office, each of them have personal internet access at home. None of them have EVER bought an ebook (checked with them). I have friends all over the country, in various segments of the society who have internet access. And those who have bought e-books can be counted on finger.

    Even IPad users in India rarely buy ebooks

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