Westland, which was purchased five years ago by Amazon, has published a number of well-known authors and books.

news Business Tuesday, February 01, 2022 - 16:07

Global conglomerate and online shopping giant Amazon is set to close its publishing house Westland Books, the company announced on Tuesday, February 1. Westland was acquired by the Indian arm of Amazon in 2017, and is reportedly one of the country’s biggest English-language trade publishers. Westland is known for its portfolio of books, carrying both popular fiction such as bestselling authors Chetan Bhagat and Amish Tripathi, as well as well-regarded and praised works of narrative nonfiction.

“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,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. The reason for the shutdown was not immediately known.

Westland was previously known as East West Books before it was bought in 2016 by Amazon from Trent Ltd, a Tata group subsidiary. Westland had been a part of its global operations under Amazon Publishing. The current publisher is Karthika VK.

Other authors who have published books under Westland’s banner include Rujuta Diwekar, Devdutt Pattanaik, Manu Pillai and Harsha Bhogle. Recent works include Lady Doctors by Kavita Rao, Despite the State by S Rajshekhar, The New BJP by Nalin Mehta, Whole Numbers and Half Truths by Rukmini S and The Silent Coup by Josy Joseph. Westland had its own imprints, including Context, Eka, Tranquebar and Westland. 

The fate of unpublished books under development at Westland is not immediately known, and it is unclear whether existing books will continue to be in print.

Many in the literary and publishing world reacted with dismay following the news.

“Deeply troubling that a successful venture can be shut down this way from above, for god knows what reasons,” author Manu Pillai said. 

“Shocked to hear and this is a terrible blow to publishing in India @WestlandBooks and @karthikavk have published some amazing books and done stellar work,” author Nalin Mehta tweeted.

“Sad about Westland's possible closing. Hope they manage to find private investors and get out of Am*zon's clutches,” author Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan said.