Indonesian telco Indosat has announced a partnership with e-book reading service Bookmate to launch a mass market mobile reading service under the Bookmate-Cipika Books brand.
The partners said the Asian e-book market is expected to reach US$2.2 billion by the end of 2016, and with the region's high levels of smartphone penetration, the area provides an ideal basis for the introduction of Bookmate's mobile reading service.
In the build up to the Indonesian launch, Bookmate has signed deals with the leading Indonesian publishers to include 4,000 titles in Bahasa in its library, which also features 250,000 English language titles.
The service - and full library of e-books - will be able to Indosat customers for free.
"Indonesians are keen consumers of all types of media via their mobile phones and we are excited to be able to offer them an innovative mobile reading solution with our partner Bookmate. Local readers will now be able to enjoy the experience of a state-of-the art mobile reading service under the Bookmate Cipika-Books brand," said Carlos Caro Caro, Division Head of Digital Commerce at Indosat.
"Together with Bookmate we will be offering a broad catalogue of local and international authors in English and Bahasa languages and Indosat customers will have the chance to use this service for free."
Bookmate said the company is focusing on high growth and under-served markets where it can help readers leapfrog from paper reading direct to mobile-based e-reading.
"The global book publishing industry is worth $120 Billion, about 8x the size of the music industry, and we are seeing an accelerating transition to digital and mobile. Our strategy is to focus on high growth, under-served markets where readers are jumping the gap directly from paper to mobile reading. Indonesia is right in our sweet spot for offering our mix of fun, social and on-the-go reading," said Andrew Baev, Managing Director of Bookmate.
"We are excited to announce our partnerships with Indosat which will bring mobile reading to a large number of mobile users via a hard-bundled offering. Smartphone penetration and mobile services growth are booming in Indonesia and we see this as a huge opportunity to build the market leader in mobile reading together with Indosat, Indonesia's most progressive mobile operator."
Bookmate's first launch in the Asia-Pacific region took place last year in Singapore, in partnership with info-communications provider StarHub; with today's launch marking the next step in Bookmate's pan-Asian expansion.