With increasing Internet penetration and ease of buying Hindi books online, the demand for Hindi books has seen a rise of over 60 per cent in the past six months, according to a top Amazon India official. During this period, the selection of Hindi books has risen by close to 40 per cent, says Noor Patel, Director (Category Management) at Amazon India.
The Amazon Hindi bookstore was launched in April 2014 with over 23,000 titles. Since then, it has been offering a vast selection of books ranging from literature and fiction, inspiring biographies, children's books, classic novels by famous authors including Premchand, Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Kamaleshwar, Yashpal and a selection of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award winning books.
"Additionally, there is a vast collection of reference books and textbooks to help students and job aspirants prepare for interviews and tests. Customers can also enjoy reading Hindi translation of more than 800 bestselling English books and a wide selection of books in the 'Language, Linguistics and writing' is also available for customers who want to learn other languages like English, Tamil, Urdu, etc., through Hindi", says Patel.
"We have a buyable selection of about 30000 Hindi titles - the top selling Hindi titles are 'Ikshvaku Ke Vanshaj' by Amish Tripathi, 'Rahasya (The Secret)' by Rhonda Byrne and 'Meluha Ke Mritunjay' by Amish. We have been receiving orders from remote areas and far-flung towns like Bhatinda, Rajahmundry, Solan, Ranikhet, Joshimath, Darbhanga, Buxar, Bharuch, Erode, Sagar, Hissar, Dhanbad and Kolhapur", he told PTI. "Ikshvaku ke Vanshaj", the Hindi version of Amish's latest novel "Scion of Ikshvaku", debuted in Nielsen's Bookscan at No 4 in August, one of the highest debut rankings for a Hindi book on the list.
Besides Hindi, Amazon India has regional book stores in Kannada and Tamil currently. "We had launched India's largest Kannada books, movies and music store in October last year with more than 7300 books, 4700 movies, and 2500 music albums. We have seen a 30 per cent growth in the demand for Kannada books just in the past three months", says Patel. The Tamil bookstore was launched in July last year with a wide selection of over 8000 titles making it the largest Tamil book store in India.
The selection ranged from classics, literature, fiction, biographies, business and finance, self-help, cook books to children's books and more by famous authors such as Kalki S Krishnamoorthy, Kannadhasan, Sujatha, Balakumaran, Sandilyan, Indra Soundarajan, Madhan, Vairamuthu, Jeyamohan and Jayakanthan among several others. "The store also has a wide selection of books in its 'Language, Linguistics and writing' section for customers who wish to hone their Tamil skills or learn other languages like English, Telugu, Urdu, etc. with instructions in Tamil", says Patel.
According to him, regional books used to face significant challenges in reaching its customers due to the highly fragmented publishing industry and its ability to reach all points of sales even within the states where they are published. "But e-commerce has played a key role in bridging this gap, taking books to their readers irrespective of their location and language. Due to the wide range of languages in India and the high levels of inter-state mobility, several readers were unable to buy books published in their mother tongue or language of their choice. Identifying this need, we launched the regional bookstores".
On whether publishers have a problem on the price setting and discounts Amazon offers, he says prices for products on the Amazon.in marketplace are determined by the sellers. "We work hard and continually innovate to offer services such as FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) and Easy Ship to sellers on our platform, that enables them to significantly lower their cost of selling and reducing defects as they sell to a nationwide customer base. Sellers pass on these savings as lower prices on the platform. On occasions, to promote our platform, we run marketing promotions".