Google has finally started selling e-books via the Google Play store in India after rolling out the Play store to purchase books, movies and songs in US and certain other countries a couple of months back. Google is quite late to the market, coming three months after Apple opened the iTunes store in India. This is ironic considering the fact that Android phones have a high penetration in India compared to the iPhone. However Apple currently sells only music and movies and not books and guess Google is just testing the waters with the e-books.
There is a wide variety of books available and books by almost all the famous Indian writers are listed on the Play store. The prices are listed in INR, as is done in the case of purchasing apps. Once a book is purchased it can be downloaded on any number of Android devices through the Google Play Books app, which is quite similar to the Kindle app by Amazon. The one interesting feature is Google allows users to read the book via the browser too. The recently released Oath of Vayuputras (the final part of the Amish Tripati’s Shiva trilogy) was available for a nice deal. Once you start reading a book on the phone and then open in a browser, it automatically opens in the last page you read on the phone!
The Android app has options to adjust text size, theme and other display options. There is also an option to ‘Read Aloud’ but the voice sounds so mechanical, you wish you didn’t choose it. There is also an option for ‘High-quality voice’ which is slightly some human. But it requires internet connection and slows down even when connected via WiFi network.
Finally the Indian consumers seem to be getting some choice for consuming digital media. The market is still in its infancy. Apple is still taking baby steps and ative players like Flyte (owned by Flipkart), Gaana, Dhingana, Saavn, etc are also coming out with interesting contents . Now is the time to go and get that popcorn.
This article has been reproduced from Sridhar’s blog.