Following three years of development, rumors are coming in that Amazon plans to launch Audible in India in November.
So says The Economic Times:
Amazon plans to introduce locally produced Audible books narrated by Indians, he said, requesting anonymity. As e-books attract 18% GST compared to none on physical books, Amazon is in talks for a reduction in GST on e-books, the person added.
Note that Amazon Publishing had announced a six book deal with Chetan Bhagat, as part of which, it will publish these books globally in print, eBook and audio formats, with the first title expected to be out in October 2018. Westland, an Amazon company, will distribute the print editions in India.
We don't know how much Amazon will charge for Audible, but I do know the retailer had previously run a pilot test in India where it made Audible available to employees and select customers.
Price will be the sticking point in India; this country's cheap labor costs may be loved by tech companies, but it also sharply restricts how much Amazon can charge for a service. Amazon Prime, for example, costs the equivalent of $15 a year in India, compared to $120 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 209INR ($3.09) 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.
The price issue may have inspired Amazon to focus on locally produced audiobooks, although it is too early to tell at this time.
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