In order to re-energize the book business, Flipkart has started reviving the section after a few years of the category losing focus within the company.
The e-tailer said over the past six months the books category grew by about 70% on the back of its efforts to strengthen it. In 2007, Flipkart had started operations as an online bookseller just like its arch-rival Amazon.
The books category draws in a lot of urban shoppers and fits in with Flipkart's move to win back this set of customers who have been lured by Amazon in the recent past.
As per the industry insiders, the local arm of the Seattle-based Amazon has about a 60% share of the online book market. Due to the pressures to meet steep gross sale targets in its fight against Amazon, the books category lost its priority in the company as an important business. Books are typical of low average selling price and margins are very thin. Instead, Flipkart has been putting its weight behind driving sales of smartphones, large appliances, and fashion.
Nishit Garg, who now heads the books business after being the chief of staff for Flipkart's CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, said consumers buying books have a higher engagement rate and as a consequence, they tend to buy products in other categories.
He said, "Since our decision to put the focus back on the category, we have more than doubled the collection to 7 million from about 3 million books six months back. We are working out exclusive deals with publishers and authors to get certain titles only on Flipkart. All these efforts are being made to get the loyal set of book buyers back on the platform.”