First published on http://www.business-standard.com
The Indian reader, like every other Indian shopper, loves a bargain, especially if she doesn’t have to step out of the house to get a fat discount. Over the last seven years, this characteristic coupled with the conspicuous lack of well-stocked bookstore chains and indie bookstores, has given online retailers like Flipkart, Infibeam and relatively new entrants like Amazon.in a massive share of the books market. In early 2014, for instance, the Nielsen Book Scan Report estimated that Flipkart’s book sales alone accounted for 40-45 per cent of the organised retail market. Indian laws might prevent Amazon.in, Flipkart and other e-tailers from selling many goods directly – they act as a platform and interface for online as well as offline retailers. But despite these restrictions, online bookselling dominates the retail market, and Amazon.in’s recent entry into the market is only going to expand online book retailers’ collective market share.