September is turning out to be a significant month for Amazon on the international expansion front.
The ecommerce giant announced the availability of its Kindle Unlimited subscription service in India Wednesday, just days after it also revealed plans to enter Japan with its video streaming service. (Its main rival, Netflix, officially launches in Japan today).
This marks the service’s first launch in Asia, and is an unsurprising choice, considering that India’s forecast to become the world’s second-largest smartphone market by 2017, behind China.
Amazon’s director of Kindle content, Sanjeev Jha, said the India launch was part of the company’s push to make “reading more accessible than ever.”
“For less than the average price of one hardcover bestseller, we’ve made the best digital library in the world available to every corner of India,” he said.
The service will cost about $3 per month — and include access to over one million titles — though Amazon is offering half-price subscriptions through September.
Along with Kindle devices, users can also take advantage of the service through the Kindle app on iOS and Android (hence the importance of India’s strong smartphone growth forecasts). Books included as part of the deal are clearly labeled with a Kindle Unlimited logo.
As for India in broader terms, Amazon has already made very clear its intentions in the country: it announced a $2 billion investment in its India operations at the end of July, in a bid to better compete with local rivals Flipkart and Snapdeal.
On Tuesday, Amazon and a host of other tech giants announced that they were banding together to create new open media formats. And on the same day, Amazon finally launched a standalone video-streaming app for Android, as well as making available Prime movies and TV shows for offline playback.
Now the question becomes: Which country in Asia will Kindle Unlimited roll out in next? Place your bets.