“The share of e-books will grow to 40-50% in next 5 years”

opines Chiki Sarkar, Co-Founder, Juggernaut.

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Chiki Sarkar, Co-Founder, Juggernaut
Chiki Sarkar, Co-Founder, Juggernaut

Juggernaut aims to create a world-class Indian publishing company that redefines reading and writing for the digital age. Their mobile app has created waves in the industry. Chiki Sarkar, Co-Founder, Juggernaut, shares more on the reading habit on mobile phones.

Mobile reading on the rise…

“From a 2-3% conversion of physical books to ebooks, the Juggernaut print to digital conversion on our app today is 11% on average and 20-30% on the top end. There has been a near doubling in some genres and in others even more.E.g. our novel The Queen’s Last Salute on Rani of Jhansi has sold more on digital than on print. In addition to the e-versions of the physical books, reading of amateur stories — be it Juggernaut, Wattpad, Pratilipi has seen terrific growth thereby expanding the pool of readers in the country,” tells Chiki.

What people prefer…

“Physical books have a special place but e-books and shorter amateur stories are finding a place in the digital media world,” she adds. Till date, Juggernaut has 1.6 million downloads. “About 8% of our reads are a la carte purchases. However the big trend for us is a swing to subscription with people choosing to opt for subscription rather than ala carte purchases. We currently have about 20,000 subscribers and their behaviour is very distinct. They download and experiment much more,” tells Chiki.

What Juggernaut offers…

“Our digital platform retails close to 70,000 books across 50 publishers including Hachette, HarperCollins, Bloomsbury, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster etc.About a fourth of our catalogue is in Hindi and we are planning to ramp this up aggressively. We have 5000 books in shorter format vs 65000 which are standard long length books across us and third party publishers,” she adds. “In the next 2 years we will expand to the major vernacular language pools.”

Subscription offer…

“We have a subscription program called ‘Readers Club,’ which enables a reader to read unlimited number of titles in a year for the introductory price of a paperback, Rs 299. The reader is free to choose from a selection of almost 5000 books,”

Readers profile….

“We have two segments of users — young men, belonging to age group 18-30 years in top 8 cities enjoying love, sex, romance short stories and non-fiction, and men & women, above 35+ years in top 8 cities focused on non-fiction like history, business, self help & motivation and popular novels,” replies Chiki.

Bestsellers…

“Our highest downloaded title is a writing platform story called Love in the Time of WhatsApp. our current top sellers of ebook titles (which have print editions) are Rajat Gupta’s Mind Without Fear and Tony Joseph’s Early Indians. Tony Joseph’s Early Indians has sold about 7000 copies on the digital side,” she tells.

Looking ahead…

“Today 5-10% of reading has shifted to e-books out of the total pie of reading. This will grow to about 40-50% in the next 5 years. Publishers have a role to play to grow the pie by innovating for this digital side in terms of format (lengths, audio-video), choice of story/genre and price. Time spent is moving to the smartphone and disproportionately, a lack of innovation by publishers will shrink the reading habit all together,” concludes Chiki.

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