Flipkart is likely to exit the e-books business as it tries to focus more and more on retailing physical goods, according to a report in ET. The ecommerce giant said in a statement yesterday that it is “evaluating its e-books strategy and is working toward redefining its digital offerings to customers.”
The announcement comes at the same time as the company’s association with self-publishing platform Smashwords approaches its end. Flipkart had inked an e-book distribution agreement with Smashwords in 2013 to sell more than 200,000 e-books through an app under the Flyte brand.
Smashwords reported in a blog last month that it had “received word from Flipkart that after careful consideration, Flipkart determined their systems are not yet capable of supporting the dynamic nature of the Smashwords catalogue. As a result, they will begin winding down the relationship with Smashwords and remove our titles”.
This response from Flipkart came in request to Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, who had asked Flipkart to repair certain problems related to listing, and removal of Smashwords titles and as well as to provide Smashwords an acceptable plan to prevent such issues from recurring in the future.
Flipkart’s exit out of e-books space may point to its increasing ambitions in physical goods space. Last month, the online behemoth surpassed the mark of 150 Mn products in sales and also forayed into furniture products under its home category.
However, other players in the e-books business are going strong with their strategies. Earlier this month, Amazon India has announced the launch of Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service that allows its users to pick and read books from over a million Kindle books at a monthly fee of $3 (INR 199).
This announcement has made India the first Asian country to get this service, which is at present available in countries like US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Mexico and Canada.
The service was almost a jackpot for Indian readers as six months subscription will cost a mere INR 999 and 12 months subscription INR 1799. On top of that, the company has kept an early bird offer as well wherein readers can get their first month of subscription for only INR 99 by visiting www.amazon.in/kindleunlimitedget it half price.
Dailyhunt(formerly NewsHunt), a mobile based aggregation platform is another strong player in this segment, which has seen over 10 Mn local language eBooks downloads by over 2 Mn over its platform since it forayed into e-books in 2013.
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