India’s first e-reader Wink unveiled, supporting 15 languages

August 19th, 2010 - 7:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Aug 19 (IANS) Bangalore-based digital publisher EC Media International Thursday launched its multi-function e-book reader Wink that not only supports 15 languages but will also offer over 200,000 book titles on debut.
Wink will offer consumers a one-stop e-store to access e-reading content of choice via that would enable access not just to e-books, but also journals, newspapers, magazines and selected articles, EC Media said.

Many of the titles have been acquired from international aggregators, giving Indians access to a whole lot of books not available in the country.

“With the launch of Wink, we aim to revolutionise the way people read,” said Ravi DeeCee, founder and chief executive of DC Group, which has promoted EC Media and the Kerala-based publishing house DC Books.

“Wink will allow readers to access their favourite content anytime, anywhere — that, too, in the language of their choice,” he said.

Another offering will be Wink Wire for news, the first e-reader newspaper in India. EC Media has entered into a content alliance with IANS, India’s largest independent news service, for Wink Wire.

EC Media’s e-reader itself is designed primarily for reading digital books and periodicals but users can also listen to music, check e-mails or even play games, executives said.

This e-reader uses e-ink technology to display content to readers, and the main advantages of these features are portability, strain-free reading even in bright sunlight and substantial battery life.

“With the launch of Wink, we want to enable the growth of content provisioning through electronic medium by leveraging existing eco-system of global tie-ups with publishers and aggregators,” said Pradeep Palazhi, chief operating officer of EC Media. “We hope to succeed in attaining this vision.”

The group also aims to help publishers and authors leverage the new platform, simplifying the process of publishing — from the draft of a book to its final printing, besides also helping them to reach out to a larger audience.

Wink has enrolled top publishers like Penguin, Roli, Oxford University, Harper Collins and Permanent Black for content so far. It will provide access to over 100,000 tiles to begin with, along with some newspapers and magazines.

The group has also announced a tie-up with Croma, the electronics megastore promoted by the Tata Group, as its retail partner. It has also roped in Redington as its distribution partner.

“From a consumer perspective, it’s going to be a resourceful investment. It will certainly enhance their reading experience with a variety of offerings,” said Ajit Joshi, chief executive of Croma Electronics Megastore.

Explaining how the e-reader works, officials said a user can access the online store from the web or through the catalogue present on the gadget, intuitively designed for easy preview of content, downloads and a secure payment gateway.

The Wink store will have a strong base of regional language content on top of a wide-variety of international titles and category of e-books. Members will be able to avail of special deals and discounts on the store, they added.

Gurcharan Das, author of “The Difficulty of Being Good: The Subtle Art of Dharma”, is upbeat about e-readers.

“E-readers like Wink are well positioned to capture the imagination of the younger generation,” Das said at a function at the Crossword book store at Kemps Corner here.

“I feel book stores are going to be history soon because the younger generation wants everything on screen. E-books are going to get cheaper than an actual book over time, so there is no point being stuck in nostalgia,” Das, who is among the nominees of the Vodafone Crossword award, said.

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