Like Amazon, Flipkart started out as an online book retailer. Later it branched into other products, just like Amazon.
That shouldn’t come as any big surprise. Flipkart’s founders were both former Amazon employees.
But while Amazon has largely maintained its focus on books, despite the publishing sector now being just small part of its overall business, Flipkart decided to direct its attention elsewhere as Amazon got serious in India, in the hope of keeping the American tiger at bay.
It’s a strategy that has worked pretty well, but books paid the price, and Amazon is now estimated to have some 60% of the online book market.
Now the Times of India is reporting Flipkart is back in the book business, and things are looking good.
According to the report, Flipkart’s head of books, Nishit Garg, said
Since our decision to put the focus back on the category, we have more than doubled the collection to 7 million from about 3 million books six months back. We are working out exclusive deals with publishers and authors to get certain titles only on Flipkart. All these efforts are being made to get the loyal set of book buyers back on the platform.
The Times further speculates,
Perhaps we will also see Flipkart re-enter the e-books business soon. It had exited this business back in 2015, saying that, “In its overall strategy for books, Flipkart does not see the e-Books service as a strategic fit.”
It’s too soon to say how this will pan out, but my guess is Indian publishers will welcome Flipkart’s re-engagement with print books, as a bulwark against Amazon reaching market domination, and would likewise welcome Flipkart’s return to the ebook arena for the same reason..