Amazon has not previously offered content in local Indian languages, restricting the reach of the Kindle in the country. However, the company is increasingly focusing on growing its sales in India as the nation emerges into the digital age. Amazon expects India to surpass the U.S. market for Kindle sales within the next few years, The Times of India
reported today. As such, it's investing more resources into expanding the content available there.
Amazon's low interest in India and the complex nature of the local languages has previously made it reluctant to build support for them in the past. The company has now taken the task to heart though, ensuring all the Kindle's features are available in other languages. Note-taking and personalisation options will be offered in the supported languages, complete with custom typesetting for a comfortable reading experience.
"We have been working on innovations to make the experience the same as that for English," Sanjeev Jha, Kindle's director for content in India, told the Times of India
. "We had also learnings from launching in other languages. This is day and we will gather feedback to improve the offerings."
The Indian e-book market has been slow to take off because few titles in the country are available digitally. Amazon said it has been working with Indian publishers to digitize popular titles in local languages. It can't convert every book though so it's focusing on only the most "relevant" material.
Starting today, "thousands" of e-books written in the Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati and Malayalam languages are available to download and purchase from the Kindle's online store. The immediate availability of the titles will help to increase the Kindle's growing popularity in
India, making the digital reading platform more accessible to native speakers.
The changes don't just affect Amazon's dedicated Kindle e-readers. The company is also launching an update for the Kindle app on Android and iOS that adds support for Indian-language content. It is rolling out through the app stores today.
"We are excited to offer readers the largest digital selection of best sellers in five Indian languages," Rajiv Mehta, Kindle India Country Manager, said to Mashable
. "All you need is an Android or iOS device, or a Kindle eReader to get started. This is another step in our ongoing work to provide more choice and selection to Indian readers."
As Amazon has been making the headlines in India today, it's also been attracting attention for less positive reasons. The company has announced a recall
of some Kindle Fire power adapters in the U.K. Amazon said the adapter's assembly could detach and deliver an electric shock while being unplugged. Customers can exchange their power adapters for a free replacement. Devices including Amazon's child-friendly Fire Kids tablet are affected.