With the rise in adoption of large screen device in India, books have also gone the e-way. To capitalize on this, fad or trend which time will only tell, Google has launched its eBook store(Play Books), through Play Store, in India.
Though smartphone market share in India is just around 15 per cent, Google’s Android enjoys 56.4 per cent of the pie. This case scenario can catalyze the growth of Play Books because adoption of Smartphones is growing by leaps and bound in the country.
But, Google is not the lone player who has ventured into the eBook category. It has competition from organized online retailers like Flipkart and Infibeam who have a decent fan following.
However, Flipkart and Infibeam both sell more physical books than eBooks. Flipkart also has an Android app called Flyte which not just sells eBooks but also music. Since Flyte is very India-focused, it can be a challenger to Google’s efforts if it manages to offer better pricing and better selections of books and music.
In terms of collection and pricing of eBooks, Google has done a commendable job of having wide selection of Indian as well as International books. In fact, its collection of eBooks from Indian authors is as large as Flipkart and Infibeam (every book that we searched in Google Play we were able to find it), while in terms of International titles, it is the biggest eBook store anyways.
Where Google Play doesn’t have an advantage here in India is with operator billing, which is not available to others also. However Google can have a win-win situation as people will be more tempted to link the Google Play with their credit card/debit cards to buy eBooks which can lead to more impulsive buying of applications as well, which can lead to bigger chunk of paid apps being downloaded.