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Publisher Westland raises funding from Amazon


Tata Group’s publisher Westland has raised an undisclosed amount of money from Amazon.com, the company announced in a press statement. The Hindu reports that Amazon has picked up a 26% stake in Westland for an investment of approximately Rs 9.5 crore. Westland will expand its international reach and scale its physical and digital book business.

Gautam Padmanabhan, CEO of Westland said, “… Amazon’s roots are in books and they remain a major part of their business – this investment from a company with such deep experience in books, global reach and exciting digital platforms will help us take our Indian authors and their works globally.” While Sarah Jane Gunter, Director of Amazon Publishing, said, “… Our investment in Westland continues Amazon’s commitment to innovating and investing heavily on behalf of customers in India – it’s still very much Day One.”

Westland-Flipkart tussle
In July 2015, Westland took Flipkart to the Delhi High Court alleging that Flipkart was violating copyrights and the IT Act by selling Amish Tripathi’s novel Scion of Ikshvaku on its platform. Westland claimed that it signed a 2 month exclusive deal with Amazon to sell the book via Amazon. The Delhi High Court heard the matter and has asked Flipkart to respond by 4 August then, and there has not been an update on the matter since. However, Flipkart still lists Westland Store on its platform and appears to be selling books from Amish Tripathi.

Related read: SpicyIP’s: Westland v. Flipkart – Online Marketplaces and Questions of Intermediary Liability

Flipkart exits ebooks
In September 2015, Flipkart also exited the ebooks market saying that the division is not a strategic fit for the company. The ebooks purchased on the platform would be serviced by Canada’s Rakuten Kobo, but consumers would not be able to buy new ebooks.

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Indian sellers on Amazon US and UK
Amazon Although the investment is not from Amazon India, the Indian arm had in July 2015 launched its global selling program to enable Indian sellers and manufacturers to sell internationally on its platform. This would enable sellers to sell products including books, collectibles, handicrafts, etc on the UK and US Amazon websites.

Amazon India Exam Central
Its interesting to note that Amazon India has launched Exam Central, under the books department on the website where users can get access to sample question papers, solved papers and articles from academicians for entrance exams.

Are Amazon physical bookstores real?
Meanwhile, the US media, specifically Gizmodo, was having a field day figuring out whether or not Amazon was opening 300-400 more bookstores in the US (it’s not, or at least Amazon doesn’t say it’s going to, or anything at all). Amazon has already opened a physical bookstore, in a surprising move (not to some and some clickbait), in November last year.

Our AmazonAmazon India and Publishing coverage.

Image Credit: Jinny under CC BY SA 2.0

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