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
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
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