When Harry Potter e-books became available very recently to fans worldwide, many felt that they would turn into game-changers in the digital universe. Unlike most e-books, Potter e-books from the Pottermore website can be downloaded in a variety of formats and read on a variety of devices and apps - unprotected by digital rights management (DRM). Pottermore will insert a watermark identifying the buyer - an effort to stop piracy - but the books can be shared with friends and family.
Says Swatantra Mohapatra, a 22-year-old audio engineer and music producer, "I come from a family of book lovers. My mother has a huge library. So, I'm a habitual reader since my early childhood. But recently when I became the owner of a Netbook and then, an iPad, I entered the world of e-books. From then onwards, I was completely hooked. I have a penchant for authors like RK Narayanan and Mario Puzo but most of the times, I don't get the opportunity to actually go to bookstores to buy books. The solution to this problem is easy. I have an Internet connection and their books are easily available online.
The positive and negative effects are actually two sides of the same coin. According to Shinjini Chatterjee, commissioning editor of the Orient Black Swan publishing house, the fiction-section of book-publishing is embracing the e-platform very fast. "Reading e-books is very much in vogue. This change in reading habit is also bringing in a drastic change in the publishing business in India. I believe, five years down the line, e-books will change the entire scenario. But if you speak about piracy, it's like a parallel market in this country. Until and unless we come up with strict regulations on online book-reading, free downloads can't be stopped." Saugata Mukherjee from the Pan and Picador publishing house believes this culture is opening a lucrative business avenue for publishers in India. "This is actually a very positive thing. People in this country love to read books, and if the price of the e-book readers goes down, the younger generation will also be eager to buy books rather than download it. In any case, not many best-sellers are available for free. If the publishing business embraces the e-format, readers will also be happy," he confirms.
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