Tuesday, February 18, 2014


When publishing houses are making books and content available online; however, leaders think that eBooks are not a threat but an opportunity for the publishers.

While speaking at the second edition of "CEO Speak - a Forum for Publishing", hosted by National Book Trust in association with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Rohit Kumar, Chairman, Read Elsevier India said that "E-books are not a threat but an opportunity for publishers to tap the growing market which is more tech-savvy and has grown up reading digital books".

"E-book should be considered a challenge and not a threat to traditional publishing. The two delivery channels have to co-exist and complement each other in an emerging India which is technology-driven. No industry can remain static," A Sethumadhavan, NBT Chairman said.

Digitization of music took a toll on the Indian music industry. Dhingana closed; popular music retail chain Music World closed last year. Lack of copyright protection law is to blame though. But it’s good to know that the leaders in the publishing industry think that eBooks, the digital counterpart of traditional books open up doors of further opportunity.

As a book-lover, I always believed that eBooks cannot replace traditional books. Can you think of a nursery class where toddlers are using kindles to read rhymes? If not, then eBooks can never take over traditional books. As once someone gets familiar with the look, feel and smell of paper books, it becomes difficult to be comfortable with eBooks. You can read eBooks, but you would be happier with traditional books.

With changes in lifestyle, local libraries have suffered a lot. Many of them do not exist any more here in Kolkata. But no dent in the popularity of the books! Readers are buying books from Flipkart and other online stores as much as they buy from College Street.

Do not know what will happen after 100 years. Kindle and other eBook readers might become so available and common that even a two year old might find it easy to use. However, that sounds like science fiction story. For the time being, book industry is quite covered and safe. And the leaders are right – digital books will just help it flourish.

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