The digital revolution has changed the way people today reads books. From reading on their computer screens to reading on laptops, iPads and smart-phones, the focus has certainly shifted from reading just on paper. It is difficult to say how much or how, but the “convenience” of reading online has triggered the growth in the electronic reading segment.
Retailer caught up with Naheed Hassan, Founder, Indireads and She Reads South Asia, known for publishing reasonably priced e-books that can be downloaded from any device, including a smart-phone.
Has m-reading been able to replace people's love for paperbacks yet?
No, and I don’t think that is the objective. Both of them, in our opinion, will continue to co-exist. There are times when you want to curl up with a paper book, and there are times when the convenience and ease of m-reading will just win out. We find many more m-readers and e-readers now, reading on their commute, on the train, on the plane. This trend will continue.
What is driving the reader community to m-reading?
That is because as I said earlier, m-reading is opening new opportunities. It is bringing in new readers, and also finding other opportunities for the reading experience. The convenience of carrying 10 books in your e-reader, as an example, as you prepare to go on a long trip, is a new opportunity that doesn’t compete but complement the physical reading experience.
The size of the e-book market in India is way behind the $1 bn mark in the US, how is the industry poised to grow in the future?
We see huge growth potential. We also think the industry will change its shape significantly. We are in phase I of industry growth, where everyone is jumping in, with no regard for quality and discernment. Over time, we think quality – great stories, written by committed writers, edited by editors who take their tasks seriously and published by publishers with a vision – will chart the way for the industry to grow.
Tell us about the terms and conditions that go behind getting a publisher to release a book online.
Indireads is a digital-first publisher – with the only difference between us and a ‘traditional’ publisher being our primary channel. All our books go through a standard editing process, with at least 4-5 rounds of back and forth with the authors before the books are published. In that sense, we are very different from a number of self-publishing ventures, or even vanity publishers (those who print your books but charge you money for it). Feedback from our readers has been that they see Indireads books setting a high bar in terms of quality and story – which obviously is great feedback.
How many established authors do you have on board, how many titles are getting published annually?
We have 30 authors on board and many more joining. We aim to publish 12 titles annually.