I was invited to talk at ‘Publishing Next’ in Goa, India and went along last week.
The British Council run a competition called the ‘Young publishing entrepreneurs’ every year. My co-founder, Anna, was selected last year and went on a tour of some South African publishers. This year there was an India focus and I was invited to talk at the conference.
Michael Bhaskar from Profile books (a ValoBox launch partner) and Gavin Summer from Hodder and Book Machine were also selected to go as well.
It was the first time the conference was run and aimed to be a Tools of Change for India.
The India book market is fascinating, it is growing quickly but they are wrestling with the same issues we are here, namely digital books. My key take homes were:
- India smartphone market growing quickly but still tiny proportion
- Nokia phones (from 3 yrs ago) are most prevalent. Need a price point of about RP2000 ($40) to become widespread
- Indian government initiative to make a $40 tablet for schools would make eReading take off (wouldn’t mind one myself…)
- Digital infrastructure is still primitive, especially outside of major cities. Broadband speeds about 100kb on average.
- Zip cart is bringing ecommerce to India despite no credit card infrastructure by cash payment on delivery.
- Zip cart now sells as many books as the biggest book chain.
- Books are bought by a very small proportion of the population < 2%
- India has over 100 languages but it is hard to make money from anything but English language books.
- Price point for a book is about $0.5 – $1.
- Piracy of paper books is very common and often the only way books are translated into other languages.
- Amazon are moving into India before the end of the year – Kindle price point will be interesting if it is sold at all
Travelling in Goa, India
- Drink Kingfisher when in Goa, if you’re called Michael you should drink all day everyday
- Seafood is good with curry sauce
- Don’t hit the cows in the road
- Internet access is scarce
- River tours aren’t tours and the ‘cultural show’ aren’t cultural and the performers look miserable.
Looking forward to the next conference!