Forget the Kindle and the iPad. India has its very own e-book reader, and it’s called the Pi.
Launched by Ahmedabad-based online retail store Infibeam (www.infibeam.com) on January 28, the reader weighs 180g, a good 500g lighter than the Apple iPad, which launched a day before the Pi – and is less than half the price.
Infibeam’s founder Vishal Mehta said: “We want to make e-book readers affordable and customised for Indians”. The Pi supports 13 Indian languages, including Hindi, Marathi, and Punjabi, and costs Rs 9,999, including taxes and shipping. The iPad costs $499 (Rs 23,053); the Kindle International edition that began shipping to India last October, costs $259 (Rs 12,030).
One lakh e-books from publishers such as Harper Collins, Random House and Penguin are available for the Pi. Bestsellers such as Stephenie Meyer’s Vampire romance series and Chetan Bhagat’s books are also part of the selection. Many of these e-books are cheaper than their physical versions by 5-10 per cent. The Pi has 512 MB of in-built memory – good for 300 books, and that memory can be extended to 4GB.
The Pi doesn’t have any Internet connectivity, so users will have to connect it to a PC to download books from the Infibeam website. They can also transfer and read word documents (but not Microsoft 2007 documents), PDFs and Jpg files on the Pi.
“We’re also talking to several newspapers and magazines, and those should soon be available on the Pi,” said Mehta. To make reading more comfortable, the Pi allows users to increase the font size.
“With the e-ink technology used, the Pi can easily be read in daylight with no screen glare,” Mehta added. It can play audio books and music files in mp3 format.
The Pi is on display at New Delhi’s World Book Fair, which ends on February 7. You can but it online from www.infibeam.com/eBooks. The Pi will start shipping on February 22.