Amazon is reportedly talking with Indian publishers about launching Audible in India:
Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, wants to bring Audible, its audio books streaming service, to India. For that it has been talking to the biggest book publishers in the country, such as Penguin Random House and HarperCollins, as well as the Chiki Sarkar-led start-up, Juggernaut.
Executives in charge of Amazon’s global operations were recently in India to talk to book publishers, said two persons in the books industry. A spokesperson for Amazon India declined to comment.
The two persons who confirmed talks with Amazon’s global executives also said that the pricing of audio books was proving to be tricky. Some publishers want more money, while some others are concerned about how the revenue from audio books will accrue to the authors since Amazon likes to work on a subscription model for streaming Audio books, not on a pay-per-book model.
Audible would be Amazon’s next big gambit in India after Prime Video, a subscription-based streaming service for movies and television shows. Equally important, Audible will raise Amazon’s play in Indian publishing.
That’s going to be a tricky move for Amazon. It’s not just the language issues (India has more languages than Europe) but also size and price range for the Indian book market.
Do you know how companies like to outsource to India because labor and services are so much cheaper than in the US?
That cost differential is reflected in the price of goods in the Indian market, which means that a $40 audiobook – which is expensive even for the US market – is going to be ridiculously expensive in the Indian market.
The first Harry Potter ebook, for example, costs $8.99 in the Kindle Store in the US and 252.70INR ($3.77) in the same store in India. The price differential is also reflected in Kindle Unlimited royalties, where Amazon pays around three times as much per page read in the US as in India.
If Amazon drops audiobook prices to reflect the Indian book market, that could cool the interest of publishers. And if they don’t that could strangle the market.
How would you suggest they cut that Gordian knot?
image by Michael Casey