Amazon, with over three million e-books available for sale, launched subscription service Kindle Unlimited in September 2015 in India
E-commerce marketplace Amazon.com Inc. on Monday said its Kindle India business—which includes e-readers and e-books—tripled in 2015.
“Our e-books business is growing over 200% year-on-year, and e-books are quickly becoming a large part of our book business in India," said Sanjeev Jha, director of Kindle content at Amazon.
According to research site Statista, global sales of dedicated e-readers fell by half from a peak of 40 million in 2012 to 20.2 million in 2015 as more people opted for tablets and tablet-sized smartphones. However, Amazon has aggressively pushed its Kindle devices in India, spending ₹ 10-20 crore on marketing campaigns, Mint reported on 25 June.
Globally, e-book retailing is dominated by a handful of companies, led by Amazon. In India, the e-book market is still in its nascent stages, although it is expected to grow as the number of Internet users rises and digital payments become easier.
Amazon, which has more than 3 million e-books available for sale, launched subscription service Kindle Unlimited in September in India—customers can choose from over 1 million Kindle books starting from ₹ 150 a month. However, Kindle Unlimited has faced criticism that its selection is too limited. Amazon has partnered with Indian publishers such as Rupa, Arihant, Westland, Orient, Grapevine, Jaico and Srishti Publishers for Kindle Unlimited, but titles from Penguin Random House and HarperCollins remain out of the service.
Amazon conducted a virtual literary festival in October, in partnership with Leapvault, a knowledge media firm, attended by authors such as Ashwin Sanghi, Rajdeep Sardesai and Raghav Bahl to promote the Kindle brand.
Amazon is also relying on an offline strategy to push its devices. Kindle is available in about 700 offline stores, including Croma, Reliance Digital, E-Zone and Vijay Sales across 23 cities.
Amazon’s local rival Flipkart Ltd exited its e-book business this December, with e-books purchased on Flipkart being serviced by Canadian e-book and e-reader provider Rakuten Kobo.
“In its overall strategy for books, Flipkart does not see the e-books service as a strategic fit and hence the decision of transitioning the e-books service to Kobo," Flipkart said in a statement then.
Another Indian e-commerce marketplace, Infibeam Inc. Ltd, launched its own e-reader in 2010 and an updated version in 2011 called Infibeam Pi, but the product failed to take off and is no longer available on its website.