A Revolution for Readers and Publishers

15th February 2012, Colombo: Etisalat is joining forces with publisher M.D. Gunasena, and Mobile Solution providers Microimage, to launch Sri Lanka's first ever online eBook store 'Book Hub' and eBook reader. The innovation will see Sri Lankan literary works published electronically for the very first time and made available for direct purchase through any Personal Computer, Android or Apple mobile device. This eBook store will be available to all users free of charge and regardless of their mobile carrier.

The eBook store will host English, Sinhala and Tamil locally published works in an electronic format. Users can shop through the portal, choose the books they want, and directly download them to their smart phone, tablet or any PC. The content will go beyond novels, potentially including any locally published material such as educational publications, magazines, children's books, religious texts, business journals, etc. Going forward the parties involved also commented on the possibility of adding newspapers and school textbooks to the eBook store.

Etisalat's CEO, Mr. Dumindra Ratnayaka, commented on Etisalat's motive behind the move, "eBook readers and eBook stores have become a global phenomenon, but their benefits have eluded Sri Lankan readers, writers and publishers. This innovation will change that, and change the way that people read, purchase and publish local material, making it in our opinion one of the most innovative locally developed Internet based products. We have also chosen not to make this product operator dependent, making it accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world, so that Sri Lankan content can finally have a global audience.

Rajiv Gunasena, Deputy Managing Director of M. D. Gunasena said 'Our company remains at the forefront of the publishing industry and our imprint has become the hallmark of the publishing industry in the country. All our publications are a cut above the rest and we continuously strive to make a difference in the world of publishing. The rapid developments in information and communication technologies have now presented us with a unique opportunity to enrich the lives of book loving people in Sri Lanka and all over the world. The Book Hub creates a very exciting opportunity for publishers to reach out to readers through the electronic book medium. As a publisher, our wish is that the society as a whole is more enlightened through the wisdom delivered by books.

Part of the reason that eBook stores have been so successful internationally is because of the way in which they streamline the traditional process of shopping for books. eBooks bought through the online store will be priced lower than the physical copy of the book, and shoppers will not have to physically travel to the book store, but will be able to access it from anywhere in the world provided they are connected to the Internet. Books will be paid for through an e-wallet; money can be inserted into the e-wallet using Etisalat reload cards and credit cards, regardless of your mobile service provider.

Harsha Purasinghe, CEO of Microimage said, "We are proud to join hands with two other giants to create this digital book revolution in Sri Lanka. With the unveiling of the eBook store and eBook reader for all leading Smartphone platforms and PC's, we are taking Sri Lanka’s digital transformation to another level. This initiative also proves that Sri Lanka is an Asian force in technological innovation, and we are proud to bring next generation technology to our citizens through local engineering efforts.

M.D. Gunasena (Pvt) Ltd, one of the longest standing and most respected publishers in Sri Lanka, with roots that date as far back as 1930 is partnering with Etisalat to provide the content for the online book store. Through, them the Sri Lankan publications will be transcribed and converted into electronic format.

Founded in 1995, Microimage (Pvt) Ltd is a leading, award winning technology company with regional presence and global recognition to date. The company has been a leader in mobile innovations and won many awards including Prestigious GSMA Award and WSA Mobile Award in the past. Microimage will power the entire eBook store technology for digital transformation and eBook reader apps for all leading Smartphone's, tablets and desktop devices.