Well, in the month of January 2022, most of us belonging to the literary world had constantly been hearing the news of the shutdown of the Amazon’s homegrown publishing company, ‘Westland Books.’ Many of us are shocked with this hugely unexpected news as nobody could have anticipated something like this!
From outside none of us could have ever felt that someday, that too so soon, Amazon would close down its own publishing company, Westland Books in India. Moreover, even after this shutting down procedure, the concerned department of Amazon had not given a very specific reason for their action. Such a huge step has been taken, and still the Amazon team has given a very vague statement regarding the shutdown of Westland Books. Well, their official statement is – “After a thorough review, we have made the difficult decision to no longer operate Westland. We are working closely with the employees, authors, agents, and distribution partners on this transition and we remain committed to innovating for customers in India.”
Therefore, it would not be wrong to conclude that Amazon is saving themselves from revealing the actual reason behind the closure of the Westland Books. Interestingly, all the speculations of the Indian Publishing Industry is leading towards one same direction, which is that Amazon was facing huge loss in operating its publishing company, Westland Books. Now, this is something very much obvious also, as a company closes down mostly in a situation when they fail to make a significant amount of profit or stay at cost even point for a longer frame of time. As in these cases, the company fails to generate revenue and then paying to their employees and covering the fixed & regular operational costs becomes a nightmare for the business house.
Ever since the year 2017, the Indian Arm of the global retail giant Amazon has owned Westland Books. While previously, the Westland Books has been a separate entity and the publishing company was in operations since the year 1960. However, the previous owners of the Westland Books felt it better to sell of their publishing company to the Indian Unit of Amazon in the year 2017.
Now, this is also very much obvious that the previous owners would have expected some big wonders while selling off their decades old company to Amazon. Well, at the time even when Amazon did not buy the Westland Books, the publishing company had a huge amount of goodwill in the Indian Publishing Industry. And so, it is extremely painful to see that Amazon had terribly failed to run a great publishing company, having a high amount of goodwill in the span of just 5 years. Westland Books is not just a big name now but also the publishing house for most of the popular Indian Authors.
Now, it is again painful to note that most of the popular Indian Authors were getting their books published from the other reputed publishing companies before Amazon owned the Westland Books; and it was only after the Amazon’s ownership of the Westland Books, the big names and the most popular Indian Authors started getting their works published from Westland Books. And yes, all of them are now feeling cheated by this decision of Amazon!
Well, there is an interesting argument regarding this whole matter of the shutting down of the Amazon’s publishing company Westland Books – If Amazon was facing so much trouble in carrying out the operations of the Westland Books then at least they too could have sold the company, rather than shutting it down permanently. This makes sense too, as the goodwill of the Westland Books has only increased in the past 5 years due to the entry of all the top Indian Authors in the company. Therefore, if Amazon would have taken the decision of selling off the Westland Books, rather than closing it down then it would have been profitable as well as smooth.
Whereas, the decision of the shutdown of the Westland Books by the Amazon India unit is shocking to the readers and book lovers; heart breaking for the Authors, who got their work published from the company; and really painful even for the previous owners of the decades old publishing company, Westland Books. At last, one can only say goodbye to Westland Books and sincerely thank them for giving us some great books to read in last many years.
Written By NEEL PREET – Author of the Books, Voice From The East (2016); Journey With Time Place And Circumstances (2018) & Indian Defence Files (2021).