Flipkart Exits eBooks Business, Rakuten Kobo Will Now Service Flipkart eBooks
As expected, Flipkart has announced that they are formally exiting eBooks Business. They have stopped selling eBooks on their platform and existing users will be transitioned to Rakuten Kobo, the e-book store acquired by Rakuten in November 2011. Kobo was launched in India in October 2013.
Earlier, in September, we had reported that Flipkart was soon going to stop selling Ebooks on their platform.
Flipkart had started selling eBooks on their platform in 2012. These ebooks were based on a proprietary format where users could not copy, email or save these eBooks.
While eBooks have been transitioned to Rakuten Kobo, Flipkart has said that they will keep selling physical books on their platform. In a statement Flipkart said, 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. 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”
How Users Can Transition Flipkart eBooks to Kobo?
According to Flipkart website, an email with the personalized transfer link will be sent to users on December 17th, 2015. Users will then need to click on the link to begin the library transfer from Flipkart eBooks to Kobo. Alternatively, users can also log into their Flipkart account and visit http://flipkart.com/ebooks. The link to transition will be available from December 17th 2015 onwards.
If the ebooks that users own are not available on Kobo, Flipkart will refund money for those purchased titles. Refunds will be made out on December 17th, 2015 to user’s Flipkart Account. Also, any free eBook titles from user’s library that are not available on Kobo, won’t be available.
Flipkart has also said that users will be able to access the eBooks mobile app even after the transition. However, from February 18th, 2016 onwards, the eBooks will be not available for download.
Why We Think Flipkart Should not have exited eBooks Business
Firstly, eBooks have tremendous potential – In India eBooks constitute around 1-5% of overall books sales. Globally, the same is pegged at 23 percent. In the next couple of years, when the share of ebooks will increase from 1-5% to 10-15% in India, then there will be no one to stop the market leader, which is Amazon right now. In fact, in January this year, Flipkart themselves said that in the next 3-4 years, ebooks will capture 25% of market share in India!
Secondly, Flipkart exiting eBooks will be a big boost to Amazon. Now that Flipkart is out of the race, Amazon will become the undisputed, unchallenged player of this segment. Flipkart has a good chance of capturing chunk of eBooks business in India
What do you think? Do you think Flipkart should have persisted with eBooks Business, or were they right in exiting it – do let us know in comments!