EC Media, an Indian tech company, announced that they were delaying plans for their later ebook readers and will instead focus on apps. The CEO of the company, J K Nair, was interviewed recently by techcircle.in. He's seeing stiff competition in the ebook reader and tablet market, poor sales, and tight margins.
EC Media had released the Wink ebook readers last summer. This is a family of 3 devices, 1 with a 5" screen and 2 with 6" Eink screens. The 2 models are based on , and it was originally developed by the Chinese manufacturer. EC Media had been selling about 4 thousand Winks each month, which the CEO regarded as being too low.
He's not planning to drop the existing devices, but he's also not releasing any more. Here's an excerpt from the interview:
What are your plans for apps now? When will BooksonWink launch?
We are now working on developing applications. MagsonWink, our magazine store application for tablet PCs, was launched for the iPad, and we are now generating versions for smartphones and PCs. We have tied up with a total of 118 magazines and newspapers. The recent ones are India Today group, Living Media group, Anand Media group (which publishes Tehelka), Diamond Comics, Mangalam, Sunday Indian and Toms Publications.
We are now busy with developing BooksonWink for e-books and will be launching 15-16 versions of it by July end.
So what is your strategy now?
The focus is now on content and methodology to reach across to users – mobile, ereader, tablets, ipads, android platform, blackberry. We will make money from e-books, deliver the technology that connects and delivers content smoothly.
And the apps will direct to your online bookstore Winkstore.com? Tell us how it has been faring?
We have 3.5 lakh (350 thousand) e-books on the Wink store. The majority of the books are in English but we also have e-books in 15 Indian languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Marathi and Malayalam.
We get 50,000 average unique visitors on a monthly basis. In summer, we saw a lot of books sold – books on easy reading, cookery and fiction, but now there is a lull. I expect traffic will grow 8-10 times in next two quarters – the apps will substantially change the landscape.