Are Online portals the primary sales channel for  Books?

Online book sales replacing physical store sales?

The old order changeth yielding place to new                                                            Alfred Tennyson

Online book sales in large cities is the trend. Products are being launched exclusively on online stores, from phones to now books! Releasing and reaching the reader from onlines stores has become far quicker and easier for an author.

In times gone, books were expensive to print. Publishers therefore published hardcover books before printing paperbacks, to test the market. Is that what is happening with online portals too? Are they merely being used to test the water before a big launch? Is this a more permanent book sales strategy?

The online love story for the book industry started with Chetan Bhagat’s book Half Girl Friend. President Pranab Mukherjee‘s book, The Dramatic Decade, the Indira Gandhi years, tied up with an online company for exclusive distribution. This is a pointer to the growing reach and popularity of online sales portals. A trend already favoured by the self-publishing industry for a variety of reasons. Quick distribution, limited printing required, computerization and ease of use.

The most important portals for book sales in India are Amazon and Flipkart. Where Flipkart is popular in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, Amazon is most popular in metros and tier 1 cities.

Whether online books sale will outstrip those from physical store, only time will tell. Physical stores are showing stress of reduced sale of books especially in tier 1 and metro cities.

Swords are being drawn and a shake up of the book distribution scenario is bound to happen