By Morris Aron
An international business process outsourcing company has launched an electronic books service that is set to revolutionise publishing industry.
Digital Divide Data (DDD), a social enterprise BPO with a subsidiary in Kenya, will offer the e-books service through the e-Kitabu online portal and free Android application.
eKitabu Chief Executive Matthew Utterback said the portal (eKitabu.com) offers over 250,000 titles in different categories across fiction, romance, religion, education, engineering and beyond.
It has also broken the e-commerce barrier of payment in Africa by enabling purchase of ebooks using mobile money transfer service M-Pesa as well as credit cards. He said the payment options would be graduated to include the other maobile operators in Kenya. “From our free Android app or web site at www.ekitabu.com, eKitabu lets you discover ebooks from international and local publishers, buy them using M-Pesa or a credit card and, most importantly, read them, ” he said.
“You can read ebooks purchased on eKitabu on any Android phone or tablet device, and any computer – all with free software he observed ahead of the Nairobi International Book Fair to be held between September 26 and 30 at the Sarit Centre, Nairobi.
To celebrate the launch, the first 1,000 visitors to eKitabu’s stand at the book fair will receive a coupon for a free ebook.
An ebook is a digital version of a traditional print book, although new technologies enable publishers to add audio, video and interactive features into them.
eKitabu requires a data connection to purchase, download and open an ebook for the first time, but you can read your ebooks offline anytime. Electronic publishing presents a new growth opportunity for Kenyan publishers, who have shied away from e-books over concerns of digital copyright infringements and security.
Ms Amolo Ngw’eno, the managing director of DDD Kenya said eKitabu has integrated a secure system that locks out piracy and which has been approved by major publishers word-wide. Using this technology has enabled them to secure rights to sell ebooks from American and British publishers in Kenya, and throughout Africa.
In the US, Amazon.com pioneered consumer ebooks with the launch of its Kindle eReader device in 2007. Even with the launch of the iPad in 2010, Amazon still retains its dominant position in the US ebook market. New technologies enable anyone with a smart phone to purchase and read ebooks.