Flipkart flips ebook business to Kobo

Flipkart, one of the giants of e-commerce in India, has quit the ebook business and is transferring its customers to Kobo.

Users will have their current libraries of ebooks moved to the Kobo platform after Flipkart said it does not see the ebook service as ‘a strategic fit’. It also said that India does not yet have a market for ebooks despite many surveys and reports pointing to the huge ebook potential in the country.

Flipkart was founded as an online seller of books in 2007 before adding a massive range of other products.

The arrival of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited ebook subscription service in India in September has surely played a big part in the Flipkart decision.

KU launched in India on an initial offer priced at 99 rupees a month, equating to just $1.49, before rising to 199 rupees, which is around $3 a month. The US price per month for Kindle Unlimited is $9.99 while in the UK it is £7.99 ($12.23).

Kobo has become the go-to firm for businesses unloading their ebook division after it took over the ebook customers from Sony and Tesco.

India is the second-biggest English-speaking market in the world and the most common e-reading device in the country is the smartphone, with the country now the third-biggest smartphone market in the world.

The country has a high literacy rate and there are 125 million English speakers, which is more than the populations of the UK, Canada and Australia combined.

There is potential in the country for sales by self-published authors but the returns are likely to be low as prices there are roughly only a third of Western prices or even lower. Amazon is now paying Kindle Unlimited authors at a lower rate for sales in India than in other markets.

Flipkart customers should get an email on or around December 17 with a unique code and instructions on how to transfer their library to Kobo. You can also find the link in your Flipkart account settings page on the Flipkart website. Your Flipkart ebook account will be automatically ended.

Once you’ve transferred your Flipkart ebook library to Kobo you’ll be able to read your books with the Kobo app but books that are not in the Kobo catalog will not be supported.

Highlights and bookmarks made in ebooks using the Flipkart eBooks app will be lost after the transfer to Kobo.

Kindle Unlimited opens in India