A few days ago Times of India carried an article comparing the prices of books across 3 leading online bookstores. While Flipkart clearly is the winner when it comes to brand recall they lately are being scrutinized heavily in the media. The article was about Flipkart raising the order value from Rs 200 to Rs 300 to avail free shipping.
Book Name Cover Price Indiatimes Flipkart Infibeam
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho Rs 250 Rs 153 Rs 163 Rs 163
Breakout Nations by Ruchir Sharma Rs 599 Rs 354 Rs 449 Rs 449
The Immortals of Meluha Rs 195 Rs 116 Rs 137 Rs 137
I did check the rates of these books in Sapna Book Store in Bangalore. Surprisingly they were not offering any discounts. Lately, I had bought many books with them at the same price as these online stores. Maybe they are getting burnt too and want to avoid getting burnt in this discount war.
Few months or a year ago media blamed Flipkart for selling books at a loss. Now they are not the cheapest but yet they are blamed. Got to love this game.
Today there was an article about the majority of Odyssey Book stores shutting by restricting their operations to just 6 of 78 stores across 3 cities. Odyssey book stores are owned by Deccan Chronicle Holdings. The main reason for sales going down is online book shops in India. But it was surprising (and pleasant) to read that ‘libraries’ are hurting offline bookstores. JustBooks is the most popular library in Bangalore.
Sapna Bookstore is a chain in Bangalore. You go to any of their stores you will see how crowded it is. They are able to sustain themselves because they have no frills. Maybe others can learn from them.
If just not for the cost savings I think online book stores will thrive because of parking problems, congested traffic on our roads these days.