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New Delhi: Amazon has announced the closure of Indian publishing company Westland Books, five years after it acquired the company from Trent Limited, a subsidiary of the Tata Group, Scroll.in has reported.
The decision was conveyed to senior employees of the company on Tuesday, February 1, by its CEO (chief executive officer) Gautam Padmanabhan.
In 2016, Amazon took over Westland Books to bring it under the fold of Amazon Publishing, which it runs globally as a publisher of books, besides its e-commerce and internet services businesses.
Amazon has not explained why it intends to shut it down completely, rather than selling it off. Meanwhile, employees of Westland Books have been promised that efforts would be made by Amazon to absorb the staff into the Amazon system, according to Scroll.in.
Unlike multinationals like Penguin Random House, HarperCollins and the Hachette Group, which operate in the trade books’ category (non-textbooks), Westland Books is a homegrown publishing company, with a turnover of Rs 30 crore.
Westland has Context, Tranquebar, Eka (for non-English Indian languages) and Westland as its imprints. Chetan Bhagat and Amish Tripathi have been Westland’s top-selling authors in the commercial category. Under the Context imprint, Westland is credited with publishing a number of highly-respected and award-winning literary fiction books and a number of acclaimed books on politics, society and arts.
It is yet to be known what happens to the company’s backlist, built over the last five years, which is available in the market. It may also be noted that this is the first time in recent years when a major English language publishing company will be closed down in India permanently, instead of it being sold off to another buyer.