Unveils apps on Android, iOS, Windows

India’s largest online retailer Flipkart will launch an e-platform for aspiring and budding authors, enabling them to create online content. This, apart from creating fresh content for the e-tailer, would help the authors monetise their work.

Additionally, the company would rake in big bucks through the release of e-books in regional languages such as Marathi and Bengali in next 2-3 months. Flipkart already sells e-books in Hindi.

The Bangalore-based firm, which got into the e-books segment in November last, has now launched mobile apps on Android, iOS, and Windows platform. The e-books also can be browsed through a Web reader, thus making the experience available for customers across all platforms and devices. It also has a feature that lets the reader browse through 10 per cent of the book before buying it.

Mekin Maheshwari, Head (Payments and Digital Media), said: “With the growth of smartphones and large screen devices, we feel that the e-books will be the next big revolution in India. We are looking at increasing our book catalogue from 2.5 lakh currently to 10 lakh within this year.” He, however, refused to divulge the number of downloads the e-books have witnessed ever since their launch.

On whether e-books will gradually cannibalise the e-tailer’s physical books business, where it enjoys 40-45 per cent market share, Maheshwari said that both the segments will grow simultaneously. “We won’t stop selling physical books as long as there is a demand. Providing seamless content, regardless of platforms, will be a big part of our strategy to further strengthen this position and extend it to the digital space.”

The official, however, said that currently the biggest challenge encircling the e-books segment is customer education and piracy. The company had to shut off their digital music download business in just one year of its launch on issues of piracy and micro payments.

It is, however, understood that Flipkart, which got a major funding of more than $200 million last month, is working towards strengthening its digital platform and curbing problems relating to piracy and payments.

priyanka.pani@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 7, 2013)
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