Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Flipkart and Arundhati Roy, Gandhi and Tendulkar

Darling e-commerce website has been in a spot of discomfort lately with a Forbes article cover-story that has just come out about its apparent/ impending fall. The story itself is not yet online but an exchange between Sachin Bansal of Flipkart and Indrajit Gupta of Forbes India is. 

First thing's first: I'm a fan of Flipkart's service and wish that such a tragedy does not occur.

Second things second is a bunch of observations I made while adding to my wishlist on the website.

Observation #1- Arundhati Roy is right up there with the big guns. Two of her books, are on page two of the "History and Politics" classification.. along with nice gentlemen such as Marx, Paine, Mill and Orwell. Fancy. Based on popularity or classicality or what?

Observation #2- Hind Swaraj is selling for as much as Rs230. Well, you can also pick up a brand new copy for Rs10. My ten rupees copy says, "Price of this book is subsidised by the Navajivan Trust." This is true for a lot of political literature in India- head out of Flipkart for the same, and pick up cheap paperbacks with nondescript covers, printed on much recycled paper.

Observation #3- Sachin Tendulkar is "is the only cricketer to accomplish the feat of scoring a hundred centuries in international cricket which includes 49 ODI and 51 Test centuries." He is also "the first active sportsperson and cricketer to have been nominated to the Rajya Sabha." Now, Flipkart is happy to announce that he is also a genre of books.

He is modestly under "See more" and towards the end of the list. But he still is above tags of vital importance such as "Travel" and err.. "Sports and Games!"

To introduce some scale: "Academic and Professional" is one of the largest categories on Flipkart, with 706365 titles. "Literature and Fiction" is next, with 586608 titles (I've left out the largest "category" on Flipkart which is called "Print on Demand" and has 731713  results.. I'm starting to think that Flipkart has mixed up their "tags" for their "categories" that are ideally "genres"). The "Sachin Tendulkar" category however, has only 15/ 17 titles (there is some discrepancy on the website, as indicated in the pictures). The next smallest category has 77 titles, and is called "Skill Building & Learning Books." I can flog this further, but I'm stopping now. Funny huh.

"The country" is currently trying to pick the "Greatest Indian after Gandhi." Tendulkar is on the short list. Looks like we all know who Flipkart has voted for!


Cheesecake! said...

Micky bhu, I think flipkart's indiscretions are due to shitty data mining and lazy programming by soon to be yelled at programmers. It's a great website but their data mining does leave something to be desired. "Hey you bought a book loosely related to psychology! Let me send you emails about psychology and political science every week!"

I think they'll just take some time to get better.

Target, on the other hand has a statistical department that sends coupons based on your purchases for things that you are likely to buy in the future which are scarily accurate.

Like so!

kicking.and.screaming said...

Seems so- I just got a mail for "personal care products." Rubbish :P.

They should buck up now anyway, with the Forbes article etc.

I want free coupon.

Anonymous said...

very nice observation.