But digital publishing optimists in India would disagree. Citing unnamed experts, The Asia Age makes a claim that ebooks could account for a quarter of the local book market in only a few years:
Industry reports claim that in the next two to three years, ebooks could constitute about 25 per cent of the total book sales in India. The major push for this kind of growth, according to experts, is the penetration of smartphones and mobile data.
Explaining this trend, Westland publishers CEO Gautam Padmanabhan said, “Although the e-book market is at a very nascent stage, it has the potential to grow into something very significant. One of the factors that we as publishers see triggering this growth is definitely the high-level penetration of smartphone along with significant innovations in technology to make the reach possible. While in the US almost 30 per cent of the market is via ebooks, in India it is merely 5 per cent.”
This is a bold prediction, and I'm still looking into it. But it doesn't strike me as a good possibility.
To go from 5% to 25% in only three years would require that ebook sales almost double year over year for the next three years, which is the kind of growth that we've only seen in the US ebook market. Even in the UK, which is the next most developed ebook market, never saw a growth rate that good.
But India, with its high smartphone penetration, could still pull it off. They have an excess of potential ereading devices, a population of over a billion, no fixed price book law to slow the market down, and a well-developed local digital publishing industry (Adobe is just one of the companies with offices in India).
In three years we could be reading about India as the next major ebook market.
(hat tip to Teleread, which beat me to the story)
image by MissMessie