Flipkart Exits eBooks, Hands Customers Off to Kobo

7637836552_bfbb9b0c8b_hOnce viewed as a serious local threat to the Kindle, Flipkart announced on Friday that it is pulling a SonyThe Indian retailer is shuttering its three-year-old ebookstore, and handing its customers off to Kobo.

In a deal that closely resembles Kobo's agreements with Tesco/Blinkbox and Sony, ebook accounts belonging to Flipkart customers will be transferred to Kobo starting on 17 December. All ebooks should be transferred, but Flipkart has promised refunds for any ebooks which don't make it through the transition. Flipkart customers can continue to read ebooks in the Flipkart app after the transition, although the retailer has said it will turn off its servers in mid-February.

You can find more details on the Flipkart website.

Based on reports that Flipkart's digital efforts had fallen into disarray, rumors of the store's closure have been circulating since September, but the decision was only made official this week when Flipkart announced that it would be focusing on paper books, and not digital.

"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.

This move will leave the Kindle as, if not the most popular ebook store in India, at least the most well-known. Amazon opened a local Kindle Store in India in 2012, and counts Google, Apple, and Kobo as competitors.

I can't tell you which bookstore has the largest share, but Amazon is devoting a lot of attention to India. That's one of the few markets where KDP offers a 70% royalty (there's a catch: you have to also be in KDP Select). And earlier this year Amazon also launched  Kindle Unlimited in India, charging a cut rate price of 99 rupees, or around $1.49 a month.

Kobo, on the other hand, launched in India a year after Amazon by partnering with WH Smith and Crossword as local retail partners.

Medianama, TechCrunch

image by oldandsolo

 

About Nate Hoffelder (11588 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on Flipkart Exits eBooks, Hands Customers Off to Kobo

  1. I had a pretty good run with Flipkart’s ebooks from the time the service was launched. Got some fabulous books at hefty discounts. The app worked pretty well. For some time now I’d had a feeling it was going to be pulled, as the prices had become outrageous and many authors were no longer available. Luckily Amazon and Google e books had arrived in India. But the Flipkart ebook app was terrific and I’ll always love ’em for that.

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