Amazon picks up 26% stake in Tatas' book unit Westland

Amazon has picked up a 26-per cent stake in Westland, the book publishing unit of Trent Ltd, for Rs9.6 crore. This will help the publisher in expanding the reach of its physical and digital books globally. Amazon, which will have a board seat on Westland, a Tata group company, has the right to acquire the remaining stake in future.

''The investment would facilitate Westland to take Indian authors and their works to a far wider audience,'' Trent said in a notification to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

 Westland is one of the largest and fastest-growing publishing houses in India. The publishing lists of Westland, and its imprints Tranquebar and EastWest, include bestselling authors such as Amish, Ashwin Sanghi, Preeti Shenoy, Anuja Chauhan, Rashmi Bansal, Rujuta Diwekar, Devdutt Pattanaik, Dheeraj Sinha, Kiran Doshi, Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, Ashok Banker and Satyajit Das, among others, the firm said in a separate statement.

''We are very excited about this investment from Amazon and what it will mean for Westland, our customers and authors,'' said Gautam Padmanabhan, chief executive officer of Westland. ''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.''

 With an estimated market segment of Rs10,000 crore, India ranks seventh in overall publishing and third after the US and UK in English language publishing. According to a recent FICCI Publishing Sector Report, book publishing in India is growing at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 30 per cent.  With an estimated 600 million adult readers in the country and a growing young reader base (15-25 years) of 350 million, readership in India is expected to continue growing.

''We are delighted that our investment in Westland will help their authors reach a broader audience worldwide,'' said Sarah Jane Gunter, Director of Amazon Publishing. ''Our investment in Westland continues Amazon's commitment to innovating and investing heavily on behalf of the customers in India.''