This is an important question, but the answer is surprisingly simple. We discovered it first when attempting an upload of our series to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform, and it’s come up again as we tried to upload the Tamil edition of our interactive ebooks to the the iTunes bookstore (or iBookstore).
Simply put, most digital e-reader platforms don’t have Tamil as a language option. We’ve discussed this directly with Apple, and they told us they just haven’t seen the demand from readers that would warrant adding it at this point.
The issue is purely one of market size and has no political motivation as some have suggested.
Apple has said, however, that if they were to hear from enough potential customers, they would be happy to take steps to include Tamil as a publishing language on the iBookstore. While this would of course be good for us and our products, we feel it’s important for the whole Tamil community, whose wealth of literature both ancient and new would benefit from being accessible in the digital space.
We have no doubt that if readers contact Apple directly and request that books in Tamil be made available in the iBookstore, Apple will gladly fulfill that market demand. Once Apple takes this initiative, it would be an easy task to convince other digital marketplaces, including Kindle, Kobo, Google Books, and Sony to follow suit.
To contact Apple and let them know that you’d like to see Tamil included, simply send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating your interest in Tamil literature.
Here is a sample text you may feel free to use and adapt:
I notice that it is impossible to find books in the Tamil language in the iBookstore. As a Tamil reader, I would be very interested in purchasing Tamil literature for my iPad, both for myself and for my children. It can be difficult to find the latest Tamil books in stores and I’m certain the approximately 100 million Tamils around the world would represent a significant market for these products.
Please consider adding Tamil as a publishing language in the iBookstore. It would be a great representation of one of the world’s oldest written languages in one of the world’s newest publishing formats, and the whole Tamil community worldwide would be very supportive of this move.
Thank you for your consideration.