For those of us who are neglecting the India market as a place to find readers, take heed of this latest report which suggests Flipkart is way up there ahead of the likes of Barnes & Noble, Waterstone’s, Fnac,etc. (LINK)
A few caveats.
First off, the world’s second largest book market China is totally omitted from the survey.
Second, the survey is actually about the popularity of a store rather than how many books are sold. And it is the whole store, not just the book store.
So for Amazon and Flipkart we are actually looking at the overall popularity of the Amazon and Flipkart stores as opposed to just the bookstore element.
No surprise that Amazon came top therefore. As to whether or not Flipkart sells more books than Barnes & Noble, the jury is out. This survey shows Flipkart is more popular, but given the population of India, the scale of the Flipkart enterprise, and the trending unpopularity of Barnes & Noble, that’s no surprise either.
But we should be in no doubt Flipkart shifts a lot of books and is by far the biggest bookseller in India. Nieslen estimated their market share at 80% in 2013.
Ebooks? There is no breakdown of ebook sales per se for Amazon India and Flipkart, and ebook take-up is India is still in its infancy, so we are not talking massive numbers. But that will soon change as more publishers in India engage with digital, and Flipkart and Amazon will no doubt fight it out for top place as the country’s leading ebook provider.
Both stores are massive in India, although Flipkart by far the largest, but it has to be noted that since Jeff Bezos started taking India seriously last year Amazon has really begun to close the gap on Flipkart’s dominance. Stats for May indicate Amazon actually had more unique visitors than Flipkart, for the first time.
Of course unique visitors and regular paying customers are two different things, but it’s clear that, after a couple of years of seemingly going nowhere, Amazon has really got its act together in India, and is now a major player.
How much that will be reflected in book and ebook market share remains to be seen.
But one thing is clear. Indians love to read, and the Indian reading market, already massive, is growing by the day as more and more of the population engage with the e-commerce world thanks to the proliferation of smartphones and tablets and improvements in internet availability across the subcontinent.
The English-speaking book market in India is impressive. The local-language book market likely to be even more so.
Anyone not thinking about translations into the myriad Indian languages is going to miss out big time in the coming years.
So will those who do not engage fully with the myriad retailers operating in India.
Apple and Nook aren’t there, but Amazon and Flipkart are up against Google Play and Kobo, as well as local players ranging from the small (but very useful for local POD) Pothi to the two big mobile-only vendors Newshunt and Rockstand. There are others. Infibeam perhaps the most interesting as it prepares for its IPO (LINK) , and with a fresh influx of cash it may get back on track with its own ebook store.
India is one of the most exciting prospects on the planet right now for indie authors, and with Bookbub now sending out a newsletter with buy buttons for some of the key Indian stores, including Amazon and Flipkart (but sadly not Newshunt or Rockstand), we can expect to see a handful of western indies do very well here over the next twelve months.
If you fancy your chances check out the Bookbub blog which has a post on how best to discount ebooks in India. (LINK)
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