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Digital books come of age

Digital books come of age
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First Published: Wed, May 28 2008. 04 28 PM IST
Updated: Wed, May 28 2008. 04 28 PM IST
New Delhi: When Penguin Books India and Mobifusion inked a deal recently, it was not just another business pact but also an indication to the growing bonhomie between two different worlds - books and bytes. With the mobile and online penetration growing rapidly in India, book publishers are now increasingly looking to ride the tech wave.
The new partnership between Penguin Books India and Mobifusion, a global developer, publisher and distributor of mobile technologies, will allow the creation of content from books available on mobile phones.
Harper Collins in the US has just finished digitizing every book that they have published and it’s now stored in a digital warehouse. Harper Collins UK announced that it will publish both the online and printed version of new books together starting September this year. Says PM Sukumar, CEO of Haper Collins Publishers India, “”This is a kind of platform that cannot be ignored at least by the big publishers because there will be a section of the market which will increasingly start reading through these platforms.”
Publishers say books will get cheaper and choice will increase. Readers will be able to simply choose and download as many books as they wish. Books that are an easy read- like quotations, comics etc may be the first to get digitized. Publishers say the online book market will target young readers first, but this may change over time. “Couple of years down the line it won’t be the age of the reader but the nature of people’s jobs that will determine book reading patterns. Buying a physical book entails a certain level of leisure that is also solitary in nature. Whereas an online reading can be combined with other activities,” says Sukumar.
So is this the end of the physical book world? Not yet, say publishers. Digital books may be here to stay, but there’s a long way to go before the written word falls prey to the typed one.
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First Published: Wed, May 28 2008. 04 28 PM IST