Online book publisher Bookboon.com is based out of London, but with sales offices in India, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore it is looking to make a strong Asia push. Specializing in academic texts, business books, and travel guides, the company says that in the past year it has seen over 1.5 million downloads from Asia.
We asked how that breaks down across the region, and we’re told that for the first four months of 2012, the company’s download figures are most dominated by India, but with many users in Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea as well. I’m told that Bookboon sees downloads from a wide range of universities in Asia, including Indian Institute of Technology Kanput, Institute of Technology Bandung, Singapore National University, and the University of Tokyo, just to name a few. The company’s CEO Kristian Madsen noted:
Many business professionals and students have an e-reader or tablet, with our wide selection there is something for everyone. This year we expect 6–8 million downloads in Asia.
What’s interesting about the service is that the ebooks are offered for free, with ads occasionally served up in inside the ebooks. Downloading books does require you to sign up for Bookboon’s weekly email newsletter where the company announces new book releases. I’m not a fan of this sort of pre-requisite, but I guess it is a small price to pay for a free book. A representative also assures me that your email address will not be shared with third parties.
The books themselves come in PDF format, which for me, is far from the ideal file format for an ebook. I’d personally love to see them offer ePub or even make it available in HTML . But I expect that in many of the emerging markets where BookBooon is growing, PDF might be a good fit.
While the company offers books in an assortment of languages, for now it only has English books for Asia. Currently it offers over 1,000 titles, which you can browse over on Bookboon.com.