Online book store FlipKart.com has acquired social network based book recommendation and review portal WeRead.com. The acquisition of WeRead is expected to help FlipKart users to make book purchase decisions based on recommendations, reviews and ratings from people within their social network. WeRead will retain its own brand identity, even after its acquisition by FlipKart.
weRead has a network of three million readers and 60 million books, and captures user-generated information such as who within one’s social network has marked a book as a favourite, detailed reviews and user ratings of books. The weRead application is available across all popular social network sites such as Facebook, Orkut, Yahoo, MySpace and Hi5. The weRead component will make buying online at Flipkart a heightened social experience, the company hopes. Owing to its community-driven, independent nature, weRead will retain its own brand identity even after the purchase by Flipkart.
Bangalore-based Flipkart started off as an online book store and now has 7 mn book titles. It recently expanded into new product categories such as movies, music, games and handsets.
Sachin Bansal, CEO, Flipkart, said, “Acquiring weRead will take our relationship with our customers to a wider plane where we will be their partner in the entire book reading experience – right from purchase to referrals. This would enable us to suggest the most relevant books to our readers based on their previous purchase patterns as well as the kind of books they and their friends like. At Flipkart, all our growth till now has been organic in nature. However, to deliver the best in class service to our customers, we have started to look at acquisitions that will complement our current service offerings. weRead is one such step in this direction.”
According to the spokesperson at weRead, “Lulu (the parent company) is pleased to have completed the successful sale of weRead.com to Flipkart. We believe weRead users will be well served by the team at Flipkart.”
With a growth of more than ten times in one year, Flipkart is expected to net revenues of Rs. 100 crores by March 2011. It has been referred to as the ‘Amazon of India’ and its success has been due to factors such as integrating to Indian conditions, allowing CoD transactions and providing extensive phone services for customer support, so that the online company is present offline too.