Home » Amazon, Ebook/Ereader Growth, Non-US » Amazon Launches a Kindle Store in India

Amazon Launches a Kindle Store in India

22 August 2012

From Amazon’s press release:

 Amazon today launched the India Kindle Store on Amazon.com (www.amazon.com/kindlestoreindia) with the largest selection, including the most bestsellers, and lowest prices of any e-bookstore in India. The India Kindle Store offers over one million books, now available for India customers priced in Indian Rupees (INR), including 70 of 100 Nielsen Bestsellers. In addition, customers can now purchase Kindle – the world’s #1 bestselling e-reader for five years running – at Croma retail stores across India.

. . . .

Amazon also launched Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for independent authors and publishers in India. KDP is a fast, free and easy way for authors and publishers to make their books available to Kindle customers in India and around the world on both Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps. New features for authors and publishers in India include the ability to set prices specific for India, as well as receive royalty payments in rupees.

Link to the rest at Amazon Investor Relations

Despite what the press release said, PG couldn’t access the Indian store from the US using the included link when he made this post.

UPDATE: In a comment, the always-helpful David Gaughran explained that you need to sign out of your Amazon account, then click the link to go to Amazon India. As David commented, it’s sort of an Amazon-lite store and appears to be for books only.

You can go to your KDP Bookshelf and set your price for India. However, PG only saw a 35% royalty option for India, even for ebooks in Amazon’s 70% tier for all other countries where Amazon has a store.

Amazon, Ebook/Ereader Growth, Non-US

30 Comments to “Amazon Launches a Kindle Store in India”

  1. Definitely a game changer. This is probably the most exciting thing that Amazon has done internationally since opening the Uk store.

    • That’s interesting. I’m curious about why India is such a game changer.

      So, it just occured to me how incredible e-books are for accessing international markets. No shipping, no need for bookstores – immediate access for readers, it’s amazing. I’m sure I’m not the first to think of this, but it just occured to me. :)

      • A billion English-speaking people suddenly becoming accessible should be a game changer. Even if only a fraction of them have access to Amazon that’s still an opportunity.

        • A few weeks ago, I tried to locate information on the number of English-speakers in India and the numbers were all over the place, everything from about 20% down to the low single digits. In the process, I learned that over 400 languages are spoken in India.

          I think it’s reasonable to assume that the number of Indians who speak English place India second only to the US in total English-speakers.

          Despite the large numbers, the more difficult question is how many Indians are fluent enough with English to want to read English-language books for pleasure. Some of the reports I read indicated that the number of Indians with functional conversational abilities in English is much larger than the number who can read more than simple sentences.

          • Perhaps a better question is, how many Indians are affluent enough to afford an e-reader?

            • Not many; but untold millions have phones that can be used to read ebooks. I believe India is one of those countries — there are many in Asia — where land telephone lines are so costly and so difficult to obtain that mobile phones became a necessity while they were still a luxury in the West.

              I don’t have an e-reader myself, but that doesn’t stop me from reading ebooks by the dozen.

            • Wow, this is interesting! I forgot that India is the most populated country on the planet….right?

              A sub issue that I find interesting is the possible influence of e-books on the caste system there. I don’t know much about India, other than watching Slum Dog Millionaires, which is embarrassing, but I do know that access to books can influence a class structure.

            • Income data shows that there are millions in India who can afford ebook readers. Look at iPad sales, you’ll agree with me. Kindle is less than a quarter of iPad’s price!

              Besides, with the free Kindle reader software that Amazon provides, one doesnt need Kindle. I have read dozens of ebooks on my laptop using the Kindle Reader, and my eyes are 50 years old.

              The next question becomes, ‘how many really read books?’. As a percentage, it is not encouraging. But as an absolute number (given India’s population), it is more than many countries’ populations!

              Then, what is the real issue?

              It is the willingness of people to spend on books (as against spending on a Bollywood movie). This is an area where I hope to see a spurt.

  2. Way cool but I don’t see how it changes my game any. Are there a lot of (I know there’s a huge population) English readers there? Wouldn’t they prefer to read in Hindi?

    • More Indians read English than Hindi. In fact, a great many Indian authors write in English for the domestic market, because it is the only language spoken and understood over the whole length and breadth of the country.

  3. It could be a ‘game-changer’ for a writer, or maybe not. It reminds me of a long-ago buzz when the mainland China market was opening to Western (I count Japan) businessmen. “If each of the Chinese bought just one needle…!” Amazon is opening up a book market of 600 million (plus or minus) souls. All the individual businessman (writer) has to do is get them to buy his needle.

    I know Western folks who’ve done well in the Chinese market. Interesting stories they tell.

    Bottom line – The Amazon press release is good news. Now, take a look at your business plan and think some.

    • You have to log out of your account and then click the link. I think I then refreshed and saw my book’s price listed in both dollars and rupees.

    • The real booster for sales will come from Amazon’s ability to provide access to tens of thousands of titles that are not available in India. Our publishers’ and distributors’ preference have enormously narrowed the range of books available in bookstores.

      Now, ebooks can potentially sweep away that hurdle. I hope!

  4. There are over a hundred languages spoken in India, but English is one of the official state languages, and 400 million Indian people speak it–more than in the US.

  5. I think it’s a game changer, not only a giant market, but an ability to test pricing in one market. I’m dropping the price of my book to $1.99 for the Indian market to see if it generates any sales.

    • I hate how I can’t just tweak the price, but have to go through the whole “publish” thing. Unless Amazon’s hiding a dashboard for price only, that I don’t know about? *she asked, hopefully*

    • I guess you can have differential pricing for India. The 70% royalty program is not available for India.

  6. This is terrific. Next, China!

  7. This is interesting, its from 2000 and its wikipedia so believe as much as you want:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_English-speaking_population

    Summary, 1 billion people, 350 million can read english(in footnote), 125 million english speakers as second language (bit less than half the US population roughly), .25 million native speakers. A note near the top says that the Times of India is the largest english daily publication in the world with 3+ million.

    Pakistan, Nigeria, and the Phillipines seem the next biggest english markets. I’m not sure I understand the note about Nigeria pidgin though.

  8. PG,

    You can see the store if you click the link after you log out of your account. Which is weird, right? That is, until you realize it’s not a full-on Kindle Store, but a storefront for Indian readers on the US site. Other things worth nothing:

    1. No bestseller list for India.
    2. Indian sales appear to count towards US rank.
    3. No Indian sales broken out in KDP (they are lumped in with the US).
    4. As mentioned, only 35% royalties.

    On the plus side, the surcharge is gone and the PR of this move will spur adoption and sales.

    However, what we have is a little underwhelming, a Kindle Store-lite. I’ve been scratching my head all day about it, and I’ve come up with two theories (which don’t necessarily conflict with each other):

    (a) It was a rush job to take the shine off the Nook UK news/Kobo’s planned expansion; and/or

    (b) Amazon are holding off on giving the Indian Kindle Store full features until they figure out what to do with Junglee.com (their Indian arm for physical goods which has had an underwhelming performance) – i.e. whether they mothball it/shove it to one side and launch an Amazon India proper.

    Both could be true. This is the first time Amazon has launched a Kindle Store without a full-on physical presence in the country first. Perhaps they moved up the timetable because of competitors etc.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s great news (esp. about the surcharge), but maybe not quite a game changer just yet.

    • Thanks for the tip on how to see the Amazon India store and the additional commentary, David.

    • However, what we have is a little underwhelming, a Kindle Store-lite. I’ve been scratching my head all day about it, and I’ve come up with two theories (which don’t necessarily conflict with each other):

      (c) It’s a relic of India’s once notorious economic nationalism. You still need to jump through an enormous number of bureaucratic hoops to open a foreign-owned business in India; doubly so if you are selling ‘cultural’ products like books. A books-only Amazon store was probably all they could get permission for.

      It’s the same in Canada, which is why Amazon was very late coming to this country, and why it still sells almost nothing but books and DVDs here.

  9. eBooks sold in India are counted on Amazon.com total (unlike amazon.uk or amazon.de.) At this time I cannot distinguish between books I sold in US or India.

  10. I’ve just logged into my KDP reports page and the first option on the Kindle store list now reads “Amazon.com(Includes India)”. So it does look as if the Indian store is just a “skin” on the US site.
    If this is the case then I am excited about the possibility that this new approach will allow Amazon to launch stores for many other countries quickly and cheaply and so extend the reach of my KDP books to a truly world market, and not just the western world as it is now.

    I never understood why Amazon(or any other company) in the 21st century would open separate web based stores for each different country. If amazon can customize every page of Amazon.com to my personal buying history, then adding personalization for my language and currency options would seem straight forward enough.

    One of the things that bug me about Amazon having different Kindle stores for the different countries is that I have to wait to get paid until my sales in each country reach a minimum. That is I don’t get a penny of my UK sales until I sell enough to accumulate £100 in royalties. Plus, as far as I can gather, I will have to wait until I sell a separate €100 worth of sales for each of the Euro stores before amazon will cut me a cheque.(I have only sold a handful in each so even combined I am well under the €100 mark.) If the Indian sales are being counted as part of the US sales then at least now I will get prompt payment for any sales I will make in India without having to wait until my total sales top 5,500 rupees.
    Plus I have noticed a little spike in sales, so maybe I am selling in India already :)

    • One of the things that bug me about Amazon having different Kindle stores for the different countries is that I have to wait to get paid until my sales in each country reach a minimum.

      Ayup. And Amazon gets to put that money in the bank till it hits that minimum, too. They get the royalties on that…

      I don’t mind it as much as I might, because my best-selling item is a duology, and all I need is about 3 sales to hit the ~$10 mark for electronic deposit.

      • Lucky you. For some reason known only to God and Jeff Bezos, even though Amazon have a store in Canada, they won’t do direct deposit for Canadian writers. We have to wait for the $100 threshold to get a paper cheque.

  11. I emailed a friend who lives in India about this asking for a sense of how much people in her country spend for books.

    Her response, “48 rupees (the minimum Amazon lets us charge) is way too low I feel. You can keep to 100 to 150 rupees. It will be around 2 to 2.50 USD. Those who are drawn to online shopping will mostly go for that much price range.”

    Hope that helps!

  12. I’m not sure about books going the other way, but I’ve come across a few books by Indian authors which seem to have ebooks available only through India based websites. Hopefully more of those will be becoming available through amazon.

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