When Amazon Kindle was launched in India in 2015, India was already the third largest country in the world in terms of English publishing. So the Kindle content was already relevant to Indian readers. They went on to add Indian English writers too. Today, they have thousands of Indian authors on board.
All that has been possible thanks to the Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) initiative, which lets anyone write and publish directly on Kindle rather than go to a publishing house. Currently, nearly 20 percent of the top 100 books on the India Kindle Book Store are self-published through KDP.
Taking their effort to the next level, Amazon’s KDP has announced the launch of the Pen to Publish contest for encouraging literary excellence in English language. It will run from July 25 to November 10. Authors can participate in the contest by publishing their books using KDP.
“The contest aims to not only celebrate great stories but also make them available to a global audience,” says Sanjeev Jha, Director, Kindle Content, India.
The winning author, to be selected on the basis of criteria such as creativity, originality, commercial viability and quality of writing, will be awarded ₹10 lakh, a print publishing deal with Westland Publishing for the winning title, and one-on-one mentoring by a popular author. The winner will be announced in early 2018.
The contest will be be judged by a panel comprising bestselling authors Joan Collins, Chetan Bhagat and Ashwin Sanghi, bestselling KDP author Sundari Venkatraman and VK Karthika, a publisher with Westland.
Amazon Kindle has tied up with all the biggest publishers in India, where it has launched its service in five Indian languages – Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, and Malayalam – the maximum for any country.
Kindle in India plans to launch more regional languages. “Since the launch of Amazon Kindle in 2007, one third of the bestsellers in the US are in KDP, while it is 50 percent in Germany and 20 percent in India,” says Sanjeev.
Aspiring writers in tier-2 and tier-3 cities get to publish their work through Kindle for free as normal publishers may not always encourage them. Sanjeev says that more education/awareness is needed on digital content in these regions.
Books on KDP cost minimum Rs 49 while books enrolled in KDP Select are exclusive to Kindle and authors can earn 70 percent royalty if they also ensure that the price of these books are in the range of Rs 99-499.
Amazon launched Kindle so that any user can discover any book ever published in 60 seconds. The multinational conglomerate is now going all out to achieve this.
Kindle books can be read on Amazon Kindle app too. Their plan is to bring in more works of relevance to the reader, better quality content, and better pricing.
Kindle content is also available for Amazon Prime users, who also get faster delivery of their orders on the online marketplace a well as Amazon Prime video. A Kindle Unlimited membership costs around Rs 199 a month.
Kindle’s mobile growth has increased too, where about 50 percent of the reading is done in English. But Sanjeev adds that the Kindle device is still more relevant to serious readers as it is more convenient, although both have same features.
All eBooks entering the contest will be available on Kindle as well as the free Kindle app for iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, PC and Mac as well as Kindle e-readers.