The books market in India (non-academic) is estimated to be Rs 2,000 crore, of which around 15 per cent is from organised retailers. Key leading organised retail chains include Crossword, Odyssey, Reliance Time out, Landmark, Om Book Shop etc . More than 75 per cent stores of these large chains are in top eight cities. Besides this online channel is also significant with players like Flipkart, Indiaplaza, Infibeam etc.
Books are among the first categories to get impacted by the online channel since this category has high product standardisation, low ticket value and low risk associated with product damage/ obsolescence. The price advantage offered by online retailers makes this a lucrative category for online shoppers. This is already visible globally, and similarly in India, the books category has seen the emergence of many online retailers, which has affected traditional booksellers’ sales with several of them estimated to have seen decline in their sales.
While players have announced plans to expand, increasingly quality real estate (location as well as rentals) as well as pricing pressure from online retailers will make it challenging for them to do so. Going forward we will see brick and mortar book sellers evolving formats and adopting multi-channel approach — store based retailers like Crossword and Om Book Shop have recently ventured into online portals and will focus on reaching out and scaling up through this channel. The pressure on these chains will be to remain relevant to consumers while competing with online retailers.