From the Hindustan Times:

Not only are the eBook sales low here, but many Indian authors are not even releasing their works on this platform. Best-selling author Amish Tripathi was one of the many who decided not to offer his popular Shiva trilogy as eBooks. “It is only a matter of time before India catches up with the rest of the world in the current eBook frenzy. But they aren’t popular yet,” he explains.

Price isn’t right
One of the reasons for this slow pace is the high prices of eReaders and tablets. An iPad 2G tablet will cost you a cool R30,000 while the entry level Kindle eReader is for approximately R8,950.

“A person who wants to read an eBook has to first invest in these gadgets, which are so expensive. That’s why people naturally decide to stick to the traditional paperback. Once the prices of these devices come down, there will definitely be an increase in the sale of eBooks” says author Ashwin Sanghi, whose books Chanakya’s Chant and Rozabal Line are both available digitally.

Pirates ahoy!
Another contributing factor is the issue of piracy. Most books can be easily found online with the help of a good search engine. So why would anyone want to buy something that can be easily downloaded for no cost at all? Gautam Padmanaban, CEO of Westland Books, believes that fighting piracy is an on-going battle for publishers, whether they’re protecting eBooks or hard copies.

“The best deterrent will be to make eBooks available legally at the best possible prices in the shortest possible time,” he says.


  1. My impression, based on the popularity of the Project Gutenberg Facebook page, is that South Asians read ebooks on their phones and are avid for more free books from PG. They may not be able to afford Kindles, or buy commercial ebooks, but they have cell phones.

  2. Depends on the Indian economy. Also on willingness to pay rather than pirate. Given that piracy is RAMPANT (music, movies, TV) I doubt that commercial ebooks are going to take off any time soon.

  3. There could be a certain cachet attached to legal-ebook-access. I’d work on it through universities, schools and libraries, offering deals for low-cost, reliable access to large, high-quality inventories. You could also do this through community centres. In my experience, this would work in SE Asia, so it might work in India.

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