Aircel, one of the leading telecom players in India, has launched its own ebook store ‘Aircel Bookmate’. It offers a wide variety of books for all age groups under the categories – Comics, Magazines, Fiction, Non-fiction and Current Events. Aircel subscribers can avail access to both paid and free books by registering on the Bookmate website.
The books are available for purchase and download via the Bookmate website and app, hence enabling the users to access the ebooks as per their convenience on their smartphones, tablets and PC. The Aircel Bookmate app for Android is available in the Google Playstore. However there has been no word regarding the iOS app development.
Though it is unlikely for a mobile carrier to take such a move, Anupam Vasudev, Chief Marketing Officer, Aircel says “India is an emerging market for digital books as e-book sales have risen exponentially in the recent time. Digital devices will play an important part in how people buy and consume books. According to a study by Juniper Research, globally about 30% of e-books will be purchased on tablets, 15% will be purchased on smartphones and roughly 55% will be purchased on e-readers by 2016.” Hence by opening an ebook store, Aircel is adding another source of revenue.
For the payment, a points system has been implemented. There are monthly tariff plans of 50,100 and 200 Aircel Bookmate points. 1 point is equivalent to 50p. However, a one time point purchase could also be made. Aircel has introduced carrier billing as a payment option, the users can purchase points using their Aircel account balance. The points a user actually needs to download will vary based on the content. And the purchased content will be available for download for an year for the registered users.
A downside of this initiative by Aircel is that its ebook catalog currently is really small. It isn’t presenting a strong argument to its users to leave the existing massive ebook stores like Amazon, Flipkart, Skoolshop etc. and take up Bookmate. For instance, in August Flipkart made a deal with California based Smashwords, as a part of which Smashwords will be offering its entire catalog of free and paid e-books to Flipkart consumers, that it claims includes over 2,00,000 ebooks from more than 60,000 authors and publishers. One can only wait and see what Aircel Bookmate team is going to do to join the race of these big players.
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