EghtesadOnline: At a time when very many are engrossed in smartphones and tablets, three Iranian online bookstores Taaghche (windowsill in Persian), Fidibo and Ketab-Rah (road book in Persian) are trying to increase book readership.
While users tend to spend most of their leisure time on their handsets surfing the web and social media websites, the three companies publish eBooks.
From Persian classics like Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh to translations of globally acclaimed novels like George Orwell’s 1984, one can find thousands of electric books on the online bookstores.
Iran’s Public Libraries Institution says each Iranian spends about 15 minutes reading books every day. Online bookstores like Fidibo are gaining traction, especially with the youth which should help increase the low per capita book reading in the country of 80 million people, Financial Tribune reported.
All three online bookshops have Android, iOS apps and are accessible through their websites. Similar to famous eBook readers like Google Books and Amazon’s Kindle app, the local services automatically sync users’ books and reading progress across devices. Which means, after creating an account with the service if you download a book on your smartphone and start reading it, then switch to your personal computer and sign into your account on the service’s website, the book will open at the same page you stopped the last time.
Furthermore, one of the other benefits of the services is that since the overhead costs of printing are removed, eBooks are offered relatively at lower prices compared to printed copies. Most books are offered for less than $2, and all three services offer discounts on a regular basis. Moreover, to increase sales and boost readership, the firms offer bookworms special discounts depending on the number of the books they purchase and read in a month.
To help preserve copyright laws and forestall people from republishing the reading materials on the web, users can only read the books on the apps or the bookstores’ websites.
Fidibo, Taaghche and Ketab-Rah apps are available for download on Apple’s App Store, Google’s Play Store and local Android app market Café Bazaar.
Established by Iranian cultural product chain store Book City Company in 2014, Fidibo has Android and iOS apps in addition to a website.
Bazaar reports that so far the app has been downloaded over 200,000 times and 73% of users give it five stars out of five. The app also boasts a 4.3-star (out of five) ranking on App Store as well.
Furthermore, more than 300 local publications are collaborating with Fidibo and more than 11,000 books are available on the service.
In addition to Persian, Fidibo offers a limited number of books in English and Arabic.
Taaghche was launched few months after Fidibo in 2014. It has been downloaded over 100,000 times from Café Bazaar and 80% of users have given it five stars. The app has a 4.5-star ranking on App Store.
Just like its archrival, Taaghche offers books in Persian, English and Arabic. In addition to books, Taaghche also has an electronic newspaper and magazine stand.
In collaboration with Roozbahan Publication, Taaghche is conducting a reading contest. Participants are required to read Romain Rolland’s Mahatma Gandhi: The Man Who Became One with the Universal Being and take an online test related to the book. Winners will receive cash prizes and discount coupons for purchasing books from Taaghche.
Ketab-Rah was launched in 2015. According to Café Bazaar, it has been downloaded over 100,000 times and 86% of its users have given the app five stars. The app has a 4.5-star ranking on App Store.
In addition to eBooks, Ketab-Rah offers audiobooks, a medium which is becoming an important substitute for old-fashioned reading. Many education experts and professionals have commended audiobooks as a way to teach critical listening to the young people. Audiobooks suit most people who want to read books while commuting but cannot do so because of the poor lighting and crowd in the public transport systems.
Ketab-Rah also offers educational content along with other reading materials and the company assists young writers to publish their works online.