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Traditional retailers ask Rupa to end Amazon only deal for President’s book

President Pranab Mukherjee’s book —The Dramatic Decade, The Years of Indira Gandhi — has sparked an e-commerce vs brick and mortar war even before its launch. 

Brick and mortar chains such as Starmark, Crossword and Sapna have asked Rupa Publications (publisher of Mukherjeee’s book) to reverse its plan of selling the book exclusively on Amazon India for the first three weeks. 

These retailers have threatened to boycott Rupa and stop buying books from the publisher to stock in their stores if the Amazon deal is not cancelled. 

Right now, Mukherjee’s book is in the pre-order stage on Amazon and it is already being counted among the top five best sellers on the platform. The book will be released on Mukherjee’s birthday—11th December.

ALSO READ: Pranab’s book In Amazon bestsellers’ list even before launch

According to offline book sellers, the move is a huge disadvantage for book retailers and is a disruptive move. “This will set a dangerous trend. The online sellers just gain market share using predatory pricing, which is not a healthy competition. So, we along with Crossword, Sapna have written to Rupa asking them to reverse this decision or else we will not buy or display their books in future,” Starmark CEO Gautam Jatia told Business Standard.

A book by the President of the country being available only on one platform can create disruption in the market and post a month of release there might be very little opportunity for traditional sellers to cash in, a source said.

Rupa Publications did not comment on the matter. 

Although this is not the first time a book is being exclusively pre-booked and sold on an e-commerce platform, the curiosity regarding Mukherjee’s book is significant. On Monday when the campaign went live, Amazon’s daily order rate for the book jumped by four times.

Mukherjee’s book is marching much ahead of works by former President APJ Abdul Kalam, former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and former comptroller and auditor-general Vinod Rai, among others.

Mukherjee’s book focuses on the challenging decade of the 1970s, including the Emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi government.

Before becoming President on July 25, 2012, Mukherjee was seen as a troubleshooter for the Congress. He has held key ministerial portfolios in the government, including in foreign, defence, commerce and finance. He was also deputy chairman of the Planning Commission. 

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