So Maxis launched their new ebook portal aptly title www.ebuuk.com.my, far be it from me to point out that an ebook portal should at least have the word book spelled correctly (don’t you think so Maxis), also judging by the SSL certificate it appears wanted to go for a more generic myebooks.com.my domain name before switching to ebuuk.com.my.
I’m an avid reader and was excited when I heard the news, so I headed over to the Maxis ebuuk page, and noticed that it wasn’t up to my expectations. I was completely annoyed by the fact that in some cases the prices for ebooks via the ebuuk page was about twice the price of books you could download from Amazon. And the proof is below, it includes a book I’m about to purchase called The Progress Principle, retailing for USD9.99 on the Kindle for Amazon, while Maxis ebuuk retails it for Rm68.99. Now USD9.99 is about Rm30 or RM32, and Maxis is retailing it for about twice the price, that’s ridiculous. This is an ebook we’re talking about.
Next I looked up one of Maxis recommendations, I expected the recommendations to be cheaper and probably be able to compete with Amazon. The recommendation in question was 5 people you meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. Amazon retails the kindle version for USD4.99, or about Rm16-Rm17 here. Maxis on the other hand retails it for Rm55.99 that’s more than 3 times the price of Amazon.
Now I know it’s hard for Maxis to compete with Amazon, and it’s difficult (though not impossible) for Malaysians to purchase ebooks from Amazon, but we’re talking about a 200% premium here, something has to justify that price, and as far as I can tell…nothing has.
I’d not buy books from Maxis just yet, they’re still trying out this ebuuk thing, and I’d wait on the side till the sort things out.
On a side note, I’m pretty happy for Maxis, it appears that they’ve got their own little ‘skunk works’ department over there willing to try out little bets on things like Cloud Computing and ebook retailing. While the results aren’t phenomenal, at least they’re trying to innovate in Malaysia and they deserve some credit for that.
That being said, this ebuuk thing looks very poorly executed (on the book page, it’s not even clear what the price of the book is) and some books don’t even have the front cover picture.I guess Maxis need a bit of time to iron out these things.