Amazon Invests in India’s Westland: ‘Still Very Much Day One’

In News by Dennis Abrams

Amazon retains the right to purchase additional shares of Westland.

iStock_000057696464_Small Kolkata Int Book Fair by RN Mitra full

At the 2015 Kolkata International Book Fair. Image – iStockphoto: RN Mitra

By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2

Amazon Takes a 26-Percent Share
India’s Business Standard reports that Amazon has purchased a 26-percent share in Westland, the book publishing unit of Trent Ltd. for Rs 9.6 crore (US$1.3 million) “that will help the publisher to expand reach of its physical and digital books globally.”

Sarah Jane Gunter, director of Amazon Publishing, is quoted saying, “Our investment in Westland will help their authors reach a broader audience worldwide. Our investment in Westland continues Amazon’s commitment to innovating and investing heavily on behalf of customers in India–it’s still very much Day One.”

Gautam Padmanabhan, CEO of Westland, adds, “We’re very excited about this investment from Amazon and what it means for Westland, our customers and authors. Amazon’s roots are in books and they remain a major part of their business–this investment from a company with such deep experience in books, global reach and exciting digital platforms will help us take our Indian authors and their works globally.”

Amazon, which now has a seat on the board of Westland (a Tata group company) reportedly has retained the right to purchase additional shares in the future.

In a notice to the Bombay Stock Exchange, Trent Ltd. said the investment is intended to “facilitate Westland to take Indian authors and their works to a far wider audience.”

As the Business Standard characterizes it, Westland is one of the largest publishing houses in India with a list including imprints Tranquebar Press and EastWest and comprising bestselling authors Amish Tripathi, Pretti Shenoy, Ashwin Sanghi, Rashmi Bansal, Anuja Chauhan, Rujuta Diwekar, Ashok Banker and Satyajit Das, among others.

The Business Standard sees India ranking seventh among world publishing markets, and third among English-language markets after the United States and United Kingdom.

The newspaper also notes that according to a recent Ficci Publishing Sector Report, “Book publishing in India is growing at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 30 percent.” And with nearly 600 million readers and a rapidly expanding population of young readers 15 to 25 years old, “readership in India is expected to continue growing.”

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Indian publishing market and book business is here, and more from us on Amazon is here

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.