As you cannot possibly have missed, Amazon have got into the smartphone business, with a ridiculously expensive gimmick phone whose only redeeming feature (for Amazon) is that it is locked into the Amazon store and will in theory increase sales there.
As we’ve said here many times, the market leader in India is Flipkart, with some 80% market share. While Flipkart offers multiple local payment options – and of course uses the local currency – Amazon has only a handful of payment options and can’t even be bothered to let Indians pay in rupees for many products.
And the odds of Kindle India ever being a success just got a lot worse as as Flipkart launched its own series of smartphones.
Just a week after launching its own tablet, the Digiflip. BTW the Digiflip (the first of a series of tablets) comes complete with Flipkart store credits, to get buyers spending at Flipkart, and also complimentary ebooks, to make sure Digiflip buyers realize there’s a great Flipkart ebook store too.
Like the Amazon phone the Flipkart phones, plural, will be geared to drive customers to the store. But unlike the $600 Amazon phone (cheaper if you sign up to AT&T for two years) the Flipkart phones will kick off at around fifty bucks equivalent, targeting the Indian consumer market.
It’s not clear yet if the smartphones will include complimentary ebooks like the Flipkart tablets do, but we’d guess it likely. The whole point of the devices, after all, is to drive traffic to the Flipkart store.
India is the world’s fastest growing smartphone market. True, just 19% of its people have access to the internet, but don’t be put off by that, because we’re talking a quarter of a billion people in just that 19%.
Flipkart (indies can get in via Smashwords or Bookbaby) will be bringing a lot of new traffic to its store with these new phones and the new tablet. And plenty of other operators are getting in on the cheap smartphones act too.
Every single smartphone and every single tablet bought is another possible resting place for your ebooks – not just from Flipkart but from any ebook store with an app, anywhere in the world – and when we start talking in the telephone numbers that make up the global smartphone and tablet market the odds that your ebooks (presuming they are available) won’t be on some of the devices diminishes by the day.
The nascent markets of the developing world are also the target of Google and Mozilla, both aiming to get affordable smartphones in the hands of as many people as possible.
But remember, people who can afford only cheap smartphones will – if they are readers – be looking for cheap ebooks. Don’t price yourself out of the second largest English-speaking market by pricing your books at silly prices in India.
Take full advantage of a loophole in the Amazon KDP system. Until it’s changed you can currently set your Kindle ebook at just 49 rupees on Kindle IN while still pricing appropriately back home in the US, UK or wherever.
Keep your price below 100 rupees and do the same on the many other Indian ebook sites you could/should be in – Flipkart, Infibeam, Newshunt, Rockstand, Landmark, Pothi, Crossword, Google Play, etc – and you might just find yourself a bestseller in a land where the numbers could soon get very, very interesting.
Globally the same applies. Where Amazon hasn’t got a Kindle store – which is most of the world – it cannot enforce its pernicious MFN clause to dictate what price you list ebooks at on other retailers. So wherever possible, price low in the nascent markets, and you might just get lucky and find a vast new audience for your works.
Ebook Bargains UK
Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.
Far more than just the UK.