Sri Lanka’s first eBook store BookHUB officially launched
Marking a momentous milestone in Sri Lanka’s publishing industry, the country’s first eBook store BookHUB was officially opened to readers yesterday. Spearheaded by Etisalat, Microimage and M.D. Gunasena, BookHUB which was released a month after its announcement can be accessed via www.thebookhub.lk.
Launched amidst the presence of Chief Guest at the ceremony, Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka Lalith Weeratunga and the Minister of Education Bandula Weeratunga, the eBook store was revealed along with the reader for Android smart devices and PCs. The eBook store currently features over 25 titles all of which will be available for free on the first week during which the website will operate on a trial run basis and aims to reach over 100 titles in the first month.
“This is a landmark occasion for Etisalat and for publishing in Sri Lanka. We finally have a chance to be a part of the global phenomenon of eBooks that has spread through the increasing popularity of smartphones, tablet PCs and eBook readers. This innovation will not only see Sri Lankan literature become easier to preserve, distribute and read but will also help take it to a global audience. Ultimately the ones to benefit the most will be local authors and reading enthusiasts of today and for generations to come,” stated Etisalat CEO Dumindra Ratnayaka.
He went on to say that the eBook store will revolutionise the way Sri Lanka will publish, purchase and read books and will offer a completely different experience for readers of books in the country. Ratnayaka added that they are currently in the process of converting more books to a digital format and going forward will upgrade the store on a regular basis.
Books bought through the online store will be priced lower than the physical version of the same book and readers can enjoy the convenience of being able to purchase books from anywhere. Purchases can be made through the use of Etisalat preloaded cards and credit cards, irrespective of your mobile service provider or internet provider.
EBooks and eBook readers have become a global phenomenon as the rise in smartphones and mobile devices have led consumers to look to satisfy an ever-increasing segment of their needs through them. However, Sri Lankan publishers and authors haven’t been able to take advantage of this innovation because of the cost of hosting books on major eBook stores is too steep.
“BookHUB platform and BookHUB eReader apps provide a complete inclusive ecosystem for Sri Lankan book lovers from all walks of life. The BookHUB app even works on low end Android smartphones which are becoming widely popular in Sri Lanka. We also intend to release the BookHUB eBook reader for the iOS platform covering iPhones and iPads in the near future. There is no doubt that the BookHUB initiative will transform the Sri Lankan publishing industry to the next generation of publishing thus preserving Sri Lankan books forever,” noted Microimage CEO Harsha Purasinghe.
The platform is also looking at hosting magazines, educational material and eventually newspapers and the LBR magazine will also be available for free on the BookHUB for the first three months.