Do you like books like Dale Carnegie’s? The art of public speakingby Robert Kiyosaki Rich Dad Poor Dadby Ankur Warikoo do epic shitand Shwetabh Gangwar The rudest book ever? Do you like them in audiobook form? Okay, do you want to hear them in Hindi? Well, if you answer ‘yes’ to the questions, your place to visit is the Flipkart e-commerce platform.
Well, it entered the audiobook category through a partnership with the Pocket FM audio streaming platform. With this partnership, Flipkart is also taking on its archrival Amazon, whose Audible — launched in 2018 — spearheads the industry of streaming audio content in India.
How to access audiobooks in Flipkart
Pocket FM, which officially launched its audiobook platform in March of this year, claims to sell over 1,20,000 audiobooks every month. The Pocket FM audio collection, which will continue to exist on its platform, will now also be available through the e-commerce application Flipkart.
A statement from the companies said that Flipkart users can access Pocket FM’s library of pre-recorded audiobooks, audio stories and podcasts through a subsection in the main Flipkart app.
“This will help authors publish their work on our platform with the help of audiobooks and will give them the opportunity to reach our customer base. Flipkart will help the author receive the appropriate exposure. We believe this collaboration will be of immense strategic importance to the audiobook market in India as we continue to cater to our users’ appetite for regional content,” said Kanchan Mishra, Business Director – FMCG, Home and General Merchandise, Flipkart.
Audiobooks: still an incipient market
One of the reasons Flipkart enters the audiobook business is that it wants to keep level with its competitor Amazon. But it also wants to focus on sectors like audiobooks, travel and pharmaceuticals in a bid to get a good valuation ahead of its planned U.S. initial public offering (IPO) in 2023.
In addition to Audible, other players in the audiobook space in India include Google, Pratilipi, Storytel and Kuku FM. According to a 2020 Nielsen India report on books, about 63% of the general public still read physical books, while 31% read e-books and the remaining 6% consume content through audiobooks. The Indian audiobook market has not grown the way it was designed. One of the reasons is that the platforms haven’t hit the right revenue model.
There is confusion over whether audiobooks should be sold directly or traded like in a library. Both Audible and Storytel, for example, follow a paid subscription model. Also, it depends a lot on the content that lends itself to the audiobook format.