In what is a first for the Indian publishing landscape, Westland and DailyHunt have come up with a superbly innovative and surprising method to cater specifically to India’s growing cadre of book-hungry, plastic-shy folks; a payment system via mobile bills — for each chapter you read.
The feature, which is an innovation in itself, is debuting with Amish’s massively popular Shiva Trilogy, which has been made available in a chapter format for readers to download and enjoy. However, that is not where the real significance of the feature lies. After all, ebooks have been invented and loved from years past.
What is truly unique about this feature is the mode of payment. For those unwilling to use their credit/debit cards — as is the norm while purchasing virtual goods — for reason ranging from paranoia to simply feeling uncomfortable, payments can be made via mobile bills. Sweet right?
As per Amish Tripathi, Author of the Bestselling Shiva Trilogy, who seemed to be extremely excited at the prospect,
What makes this offering unique is that readers can download and read the book chapter by chapter, one at a time and can also make payments using their mobile bills instead of having to use credit or debit cards. India is a country with only 2% credit card penetration and many Indians do not have a bank account. Mobile payment is the only truly penetrative mode of payment online. With this Dailyhunt mobile app, my books will reach over 850 million customers via Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Aircel & Reliance, at a cost as low as Rs. 15 per chapter.
For those who are unfamiliar with the companies that have made this whole thing possible, Westland is part of the Tata group and is involved with retailing and distribution, as well as the publication of ebooks. The company has quite a corporate presence on its own and is the fifth largest English language publisher in India.
Dailyhunt on the other hand, is a news and eBooks application and besides having content in 15 languages, is installed on almost 10 Crore devices with a staggering 22 million monthly active users.
Both these companies seemed to be almost as excited as Amish at the collaborative venture.
As per Gautam Padmanabhan, CEO of Westland,
Westland has always been supportive of innovative ways in marketing and selling books to readers both in the digital and physical space and we strongly believe that chapter downloads is potentially a game changer for publishing. We congratulate Dailyhunt in being the first in India to launch this service.
All in all, the concept is extremely intriguing and it will be quite interesting to see how it fares with Indians, both readers as well as authors, and particularly if the numbers associated with ebook consumption show a significant increase thanks to this new, hassle-free mode of payment.