• Table of contents

    • [+]Preliminaries (3)
    • [+]Introduction (4)
    • [+]Latin America (13)
    • [+]Sub-Saharan Africa (9)
    • [+]Arab World (11)
    • [+]Russia (11)
    • [—]India (11)
    • [+]China (9)
    • [+]Conclusions (6)
    • [+]Appendix (1)


Selling printed books through the Web

Many entrepreneurs from the IT world in India have dedicated themselves to e-commerce. Sachin and Binny Bansal, both computer science graduates of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, opened the store FlipKart in 2007. Like Amazon – a company in which they had previously worked –, they began by selling physical books, but have now branched out into music, films and mobile phones. FlipKart offers numerous means of payment including credit card, debit card, bank transfer and cheque, and the site recently added the possibility of paying cash on delivery, something highly sought after by local consumers.

FlipKart is currently visited by around 6 million users and sells an average of 5000 books per day, from a total backlist of 6 million titles, both national and imported.[1] The portal is extremely active in online social networks, and in late 2010 the company acquired WeRead, a book recommendation site[2]. It is interesting to note that FlipKart’s Facebook page currently has more fans than Amazon’s does[3]. The prices of local books tend to be much lower than those of imported ones and generally range between 2 and 8 dollars.

So far, FlipKart has avoided moving into e-books. This prudence is echoed by most of the general stores – such as India Plaza, Jumadi, Landmark or Rediff – and the online platforms dedicated exclusively to selling books – such as uRead, Pustak, Bookadda, Simply Books and Pop a Book.

  1. Cf. Sen, Sunny: “Ready To Script A New Story”, Business world, 11th December, 2010 and Maidan, Pragati: “Flipkart showcases its portal at the World Book fair”, The Financial Express.
  2. Cf. “FlipKart turns more social, with weRead acquisition”, SiliconIndia, 24th December, 2010.
  3. February 2011.

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