Amazon have today launched a separate pricing scheme of India's Kindle Store.
India uses .com to sell but prices by region, and this is done on a 35% royalty rate with a minimum price of $0.87.
Why is this important?
Well, India is one the largest markets in the world. There are 1,241,491,960 people living there according to the World Bank.
The potential here is obvious. They (mostly) speak English so you probably have everything you need to try and penetrate the market. The key here is going to be price. Books that sell comfortably for $4.99 in the US are not going to shift at all in India. Despite a burgeoning middle class the price of a brand new paperback in India is closer to $2 than the premium pricing we're used to in England and America.
That means selling cheap if you want to sell. Given there is no variation in royalty we don't actually get penalised for going below $2.99. The minimum of 87c yields 30.45c royalty per copy (20p for the Brits reading this). As a pre-tax royalty it's awful, but the volume effect of a billion strong market means you don't need to make much per copy, and India is growing richer. Long term a strong Indian fan base will do any author proud.
The second effect is that the sales from India (being through .com) kick into your .com sales rank. That means cheap Indian sales (and Indian reviews, tags and likes) can help spur on high income .com sales to the rest of the world. 1.2billion people, many of them internet savvy, have the potential to a tsunami of word of mouth advertising.
What do I recommend here?
· Go cheap (by Western standards). Paperbacks win if they only cost a tiny fraction more.
· Start buying pro Indian market advertising now; the price will shoot up as authors realise how lucrative the market is.
· Aim to include India as a key component of your next free run.
· Give free copies out left right and centre to Indian bloggers.
· If you've got easy (read, very cheap) access to a translator get a Hindi edition out.
At 30c a time you'd need a huge number of sales to make a reasonable income (100,000 sales being $30k gross). This new market won't make you fabulously rich, but it could accelerate success in other markets, and build a huge fan base for the future. Do buy advertising; it's cheap in India, but do so bearing in mind the risk/reward ratio. Those quick to react will bag the biggest chunk of the market and today is your first opportunity to start trying to reach them. I think we will all regret it if we don't.