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Low Price Editions for Indian Kindles?

After Amazon shipped me another Kindle Keyboard when my previous one broke, I thought I'll go and buy some more books. (Thank you Amazon! :) ) While I enjoy the classics as far as literature in concerned, I like my share of technical books too, though I seldom manage to read them cover to cover.

Low Price Editions (LPE)

Books (particularly bestsellers & curriculum) printed for developing countries are sold for a lot less than the same editions sold in other countries. These have the same content as the ones sold in say, the US, but have cheaper paper and print quality. For Instance, while if a book was originally in color, these editions are printed in black ink. Hence, phrases like 'In the picture, the blue marble is heavier than the white marble' leading often lead to a facepalm. They are often marked as "Low Price Editions' with a restriction that they be sold only in a particular region like the Indian subcontinent.

Prices Drop for the Indian Kindle Store!

However buying Kindle books had rarely appealed to me in this regard since India is blessed with 'Low Price Editions' of almost every paperback*. For instance, while I bought my trusty paperback Introduction to Algorithms (CLRS) for a mere Rs. 400 (about $7), the same book costs around $24 in the US. I opened up the recently launched Indian store for the Amazon Kindle, and guess what, CLRS Kindle edition is for $5.89. (Although they don't have it formatted for the Kindle Keyboard). A similar case with the "Programming Interviews Exposed: Secrets to Landing Your Next Job, 2nd Edition".

Here is what the store displays.

Digital List Price: $29.99

Kindle Price (US$): $3.22

(Save 89% or $26.77)

Kindle Price (INR): Rs. 189.71

The same book on Flipkart sells for: Rs. 208 ($3.6)

Amazon won this deal. At least for me.

The story is the same for a number of books. For instance, Wings of Fire: An Autobiography by APJ Abdul Kalam, Arun Tiwari costs Rs 201 on Flipkart while Rs 184 on the Indian Kindle Store.

A New Hope?

Amazon is famous for their customer satisfaction and they recently launched the Kindle to be sold in Indian stores. Plus, reading on the Kindle is a very comfortable experience. The device may seem expensive, but if it costs less to buy a Kindle edition, the device will pay for itself. Furthermore, if you have attempted to read The Lord Of The Rings in the Delhi metro without using a Kindle, you would appreciate its advantage. They have the device, they have the content. The only argument against a full Kindle experience in my opinion, was the existence of low cost editions of almost every book in the Indian market. Also, the store's inventory availability is still limited. Procuring them is not impossible, but inconvenient. With the new pricing of the Amazon Kindle Store for India, I find myself looking for Kindle alternatives to every book I want. Most importantly, Amazon will give budding talented writers in India as well as IIT and IIM grads, the opportunity to self publish books for the Kindle. All in all, Amazon seems to be doing a lot of steps pointing to a large transformation on the Indian market from books to ebooks, which, I believe, it is ready for.

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