With advent of technology, people have moved from paperbacks to eBooks. Although the masses still believe in typical paperback reading, a lot of people have shifted to the digital form of print. Recently, this trend has further spread to another form of books known as audiobooks, which is the most convenient form of book reading, but since it is narrative reading turns to listening. Since this form of book reading is very new, a Delhi-based startup called Reado.com has created a platform dedicated to audiobooks. Led by Siddharth and Sumit Suneja, this website focuses on distribution of audio books. “Since the Indian audio book industry is only a few years old, it is very difficult to gauge the size at this point of time.” Says Siddharth.
How does it work?
The website has a user friendly interface and similar to many ecommerce websites, Reado.com displays the catalogue of all the available products, audio books in this case, in a very simplified and interactive way. Purchasing books is very simple which involves selection of the book and online payment. Once the payment is done, the books are added to your library from where they can be downloaded. The website offers one free audio book download at the time of sign up.
According to Siddharth, audio book business is booming at the international level and there is a vast scope for this business in India as it is yet to be exploited. Also, he believes that in a country like India where people are not very fond of reading books, audio books give them the option to indulge in reading with the help of storytelling. Lastly, he says not only does this help people develop a habit but also motivates them.
The Initial Steps
During the initial stages of their launch, Reado.com worked their way into the industry through CDs. The CDs were distributed through bookstores and music stores and soon found their way into digital publishing. Very recently, the startup has introduced distribution of audio books through a pen drive, although this applies only for indigo flights for now but it could soon make a way into the market too. A Rs 100 coupon voucher is also offered along with the pen drive.
The website lists over 5000 books and has a user base of around 15000 users on the digital front. The physical base is comparatively higher than the digital user base because of its early origins. Although the startup is self-funded, it is always looking for interested partners. Also, Reado.com does not have a lot of competition right now apart from audible.com which is also new to the audio book industry and focuses more on their eBook section. The firm has seen about 60% growth rate over the past three years and is looking forward to catching up on the pace in the coming years. When it comes to revenue, 60% of the total revenue comes from physical sales while 40% accounts for the digital sales.
Reado.com has been successful with their English language catalogue and is now planning on adding regional languages to its collection. Apart from this, they plan on increasing their user base at the international level and since it is publishing platform, it also promotes new authors and writers with their work. The company has a customer retention rate of about 40-45% which is very high as the customers come back to the website for a second purchase.
Audio books are very new concept to the Indian market but considering the amount of attention it has gained in such a short period of time, Reado.com could just be the next big thing. So people who cannot read thick heavy books, here’s your alternative, start listening.