Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart Online Services Pvt Ltd has entered into an agreement with US-based indie eBook distributor Smashwords Inc. for enabling publishers and authors to distribute eBooks through the company’s e-commerce portal Flipkart.com. As part of the partnership, Smashwords’ eBook store will be available on Flipkart’s site as well as its e-reading apps for Android, iOS and Microsoft Windows 8 platforms in four weeks
Note that while the iOS app supports reading only (for earlier purchases), users can also make purchases on other platforms. Also, Smashwords’ authors and publishers opting for the Flipkart platform will only be eligible for distribution if their books are approved for inclusion in the premium catalogue. Authors will earn 60 per cent of the list price for all sales done on Flipkart.
A leading distributor of indie eBooks, Smashwords publishes novels, short fiction, poetry, personal memoirs, monographs, non-fiction, research reports and essays. The firm distributes eBooks to Apple iBookstore (in 51 countries), Barnes & Noble, Sony Reader Store, Kobo, Diesel eBook Store, Baker & Taylor’s Blio and Axis360, etc. In terms of traffic, India represents the fifth largest source of traffic for the company after the US, the UK, Canada and Australia.
For authors, publishers and literary agents, Smashwords offers free tools for marketing, distribution, metadata management and sales reporting. In addition, authors and publishers have complete control over the sampling, pricing and marketing of their written work. For retailers, it offers a catalogue of over 2 lakh vetted and formatted eBooks from more than 60,000 authors and publishers. These eBooks can be sampled, purchased and downloaded by users.
Flipkart.com claims to have 10 million registered users, a million daily visitors, and offers products in over 17 different categories. According to Nielsen BookScan Retail Panel data, Flipkart holds 80 per cent market share for online book sales in India as well as 40-45 per cent market share for all book sales across brick and mortar and online.
In August this year, the company had launched its eBooks app for three new platforms—iOS, Windows Phone and PC browsers (the Android version was launched in late November 2012). Its eBook category has a selection of 2.5 lakh books and it aims to increase this to 1 million by the end of this year.