There was a time, when eBook was looked as a technological miracle, something that required a new way of thinking. eBooks are essentially just books, what changes is the media in which they are “printed” on.
But with the growth of technology, eBook seems to be booming up in India.
At the World Book Fair, a major event in publishing industry, held in New Delhi, February 2015 – e-book publishers, developers and content providers did showcase their e-books and discussed with publishers for developing them. Though most of Indian Publishers want to go digital, many are still skeptical about selling their eBooks while a majority of Indian readers have not yet adapted to the changing trend towards eBooks. One of the challenging factors could be that small/medium publishers are not marketers or retailers. Publishers may expect sales to happen but on digital that may be unlikely without a new digital marketing effort driving customers from social through engagement to a book store via their e-reader. Besides this, they do not have the necessary resources to invest in a market with zero returns which means that the availability of titles in regional languages is still scarce hence they are not open to adopt eBooks.
But with Prime Minister’s Digital India programme, the government has launched a new portal for students to download school books and ebooks, which could change the scenario. Aptly called “eBasta” (Basta means school bag in hindi) a portal where authorized school teachers can access the portal to compile course material and textbooks, and e-books as per a school’s preferences for each class. This portal enables one to download e-text books, lectures and practical videos, and audio files, store them and access them on phones, tablets or computers even when internet connectivity is not available. For students, it will reduce the burden of physical books and easy access to structured resources created by schools. For publishers, it will be easier for them to penetrate into schools and students in every nook and corner of India and sell books in the digital format. All they need to do is register on to the eBasta portal.
The platform, eBasta, is merely not a library of books, but a collaborative platform where school book publishers, school teachers, students and even various etailers can participate.
Here is how all stakeholders are involved on eBasta:
According to the eBasta website, “it is a framework to make school books accessible in digital form as e-books to be read and used on tablets and laptops. The main idea is to bring various publishers (free as well as commercial) and schools together on one platform. In addition to the portal, a back-end framework to facilitate the organization and easy management of such resources has also been made, along with the web based applications that can be installed on tablets for navigating the framework.”
Benefits of eBasta for Students and Publishers
- The publishers and the students both benefit because feedback on the online material available online comes directly and thus, any action required concerning the content will also be more prompt.
- Thanks to DRM (Digital Rights Management), the publishers do not have to worry about piracy of the content that they upload.
Even though this platform has been newly launched, there are many eBooks available on the portal. With an increase in demand and popularity, this initiation of the Government is surely going to achieve success, and thus benefit the future generation of India.