While the jury is out, globally, on whether eBooks sales are plummeting causing old-time favourite printed books to re-emerge at the stands , there seems to be no room for such an argument in the Indian context where eBooks are soaring up the charts.
And Malayalam is no exception.
“eReading is still in a development stage in India and on a steady growth path,” assures Ravi DeeCee, managing director of publishing house DC Books, one of the largest in the State. Books published by it get printed and have an electronic version concurrently, and are available across a range of devices. Its eBook collection has seen about 25,000 downloads, with some 15,000 regular readers logging in for their favourite volume.
Meanwhile, enhanced eBooks, with animation, jigsaw puzzles, quiz and audio, are lapped up by children, as the multimedia experience is heady, he informs.
Nothing demonstrates the trend better than the phenomenal growth of Dailyhunt (www.dailyhunt.in) which has had over 30 million eBook downloads since its launch last year. “With an installed base of 100 million users, we are the largest platform for Indian language content right now. Specific to Malayalam, we have seen 22 lakh eBook and eMagazine downloads in just over a year. Fiction, biographies, short stories and religion are the top-selling categories. Aadujeevitham, Oru Malayaliude Jeevitham, Bobanum Moliyum and Nayanar Phalithangal are a few of our best -selling titles,” says Virendra Gupta, managing director and founder of Dailyhunt.
India has a long history of rich literature which struggled to find readers for paucity of ease of access. Lack of available pan-India distribution channels troubles most publishers. eBooks allow readers to find a much larger catalogue and publishers to reach a much larger scale through the platform. We are seeing readers coming in from all over the world to find books in their language and the user base is growing by the day, he adds.
According to a spokesperson for Kindle India, the growth in eReading has spurred the market for e-readers as well. “We launched in India over two years ago and are excited by the response we have had so far; we are seeing a 200 per cent growth year-on-year with respect to new customers for Kindle in India.”