FlipKart turns more social, with weRead acquisition

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Bangalore: Three million readers, 60 million books seems to be quite lucrative and it ensures a big thumbs up to an online bookstore firm. The same thoughts may have struck Flipkart while they eyed weRead and now, it's acquired. weRead would also help leverage on recommendation technologies and social graph information to enhance customer experience of the bookstore.

"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," says Sachin Bansal, CEO of Flipkart. The deal is basically to allow buyers on Flipkart to make decisions based on recommendations from people within their social network, detailed reviews and user-generated ratings. Owing to its community-driven, independent nature, weRead will retain its own brand identity, even after the purchase by Flipkart.

The deal does bring in a comprehensive view for a book reader, however, coming to Flipkart, who have increased its portfolio to stay strong in e-commerce to include movie and gaming sectors too. Does this mean more acquisition? "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," Sachin says.

In 2009, FlipKart had raised $100 million from Accel Partners and Subrata Mitra of Accel joined the company's board. "Flipkart decided to acquire weRead since it provides us access to their user-base of three million readers and reviews of several millions of books. As one of the leading players on the online book ecosystem in India, we wanted our customers to have a better and wider experience at Flipkart, and therefore the extension of our platform by these reviews is a step in the right direction for us; it provides us the ability to refer books to our audience based on the social characteristics captured through the weRead application," he says.

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