Flipkart Smashwords

E-commerce major Flipkart has inked an e-book distribution agreement with the California based self-publishing and distribution platform Smashwords which focuses on independent publishers.

As part of the deal, Smashwords will be offering its entire catalog of free and paid e-books to Flipkart consumers in the next three to four weeks. It claims to have published more than 200,000 e-books from more than 60,000 authors and publishers at present. The deal period or the terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Interestingly, Smashwords notes that India is its fifth largest market after US, UK, Canada and Australia.

Smashwords said that all its authors and publishers will be automatically opted in to Flipkart distribution, as long as the author’s books are Premium Catalog-approved and authors will receive 60% of the Flipkart sales after accounting for the withholding tax.

What’s particularly interesting is that Smashwords is trying to position itself as a distribution platform for Indian independent authors through this partnership, while Flipkart itself is nursing an ambition to launch a self publishing platform for authors.

Although, its worth noting that Smashwords has distribution tie-ups with Apple iBookstore in 51 countries and global distribution tie-ups with Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, Baker & Taylor, Diesel and Page Foundry among others. It also owns an e-books shop Smashwords.com, through which it offers a higher sales proceeds of 85% to authors, as compared to 60% from other platforms. What’s missing is Amazon which has its own self publishing platform called Kindle Direct Publishing for independent authors and publishers across the world including India.

New Flipkart e-book apps: After killing its online music store in June 2013, Flipkart had finally extended its e-books app to iOS,Windows Phone 8 and the web, after launching the e-books section in November 2012. It claims to have 2.5 lakh e-book titles at present and hopes to increase it to 10 lakhs by the end of this year.

Flipkart had also inked a partnership with Nokia to bundle the Flipkart e-books app on Nokia Lumia 625 and forthcoming Windows Phone-based Lumia smartphones.The company had mentioned that this app will feature exclusive pieces from authors like Khushwant Singh and Sidin Vadukut.

In June 2013, Penguin Books had partnered Flipkart to offer short digital reads of its catalogue called E-Singles. At launch, it offered 47 e-singles and the company was planning to expand the catalogue to offer e-singles from other categories like poetry, short non-fiction, plays and fiction among others.