Online e-tailer Flipkart has exited its ebooks business saying that the division is not a strategic fit for the company. Flipkart added that ebooks purchased on the platform will now be serviced by Canada’s Rakuten Kobo. However, consumers will not be able to buy new ebooks from Friday.
MediaNama had earlier in September reported that Flipkart had exited the ebooks business after the development was first noted last month by Alliance of Independent Authors (Alli), a global non-profit for writers who self publish.
Flipkart had launched its ebooks section in 2012 and the books were delivered in a proprietary format where one could not copy, email, or save images from the purchased books. Although people could share up to 140 characters from a specific book onto social platforms.
“The Indian book market is overwhelmingly dominated by physical books and this is a market that is growing at a fast clip. Flipkart will continue to be a leading player in the overall books market in India,” Flipkart said in a statement. “In an overall strategy for books, Flipkart does not see the eBooks service as a strategic fit and hence the decision of transitioning the eBooks service to Kobo,” it added.
Deal with Smashwords
In September, Flipkart ended its distribution deal with self-publishing website Smashwords. Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, added that Flipkart was asked to repair certain problems related to the listing, and removal of Smashwords titles, to provide Smashwords an acceptable plan to prevent such issues from recurring in the future.
Flipkart had inked an e-book distribution agreement with Smashwords in 2013 and were supposed to provide its entire catalog of free and paid e-books to Flipkart consumers. At the time, Smashwords had said that all its authors and publishers were automatically opted in to Flipkart distribution.
Other developments in the ebooks space
– In November, media company YourStory acquired Papyrus Editor, an online e-book editing an publishing platform for an undisclosed amount in an all cash and stock deal.
– In September, Amazon’s Kindle Scout programme was extended to writers in India where writers could submit never-published, novel-length English-language manuscripts under Kindle Press, the company’s digital publishing banner. In the same month, itlaunched Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service which would give readers access to over one million books for a limited period.
– In August, the Oxford University Press launched its online English learning and assessment product Oxford Achievers targeted at school children in Class I-VIII in Hyderabad, along with Oxford Educate Premium which integrated ebooks with interactive tools and learning material.
– In June, as part of the Digital India programme, the government launched a new portal for students to download school books and ebooks.
– In the same month, Rockstand partnered with READ India to give away various e-books to villagers at 16 READ India centres across the country.