Rare Book Monthly

Articles - August - 2011 Issue

Amazon Purchases England's The Book Depository

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Amazon is purchasing England's The Book Depository.

Amazon.com has reached an agreement to add another bookseller to its stable of book websites. This one is The Book Depository, an English online-only book company. The Book Depository describes itself as "the UK's largest dedicated online bookseller." The firm was formed in 2004 under a "less of more" rather than "more of less" philosophy. For those confused by what that means, the marketing strategy is to offer an enormously wide selection of titles, hoping to sell a few of many, rather than trying to sell huge quantities of just the most popular books. In this sense it is a different business model from that of its soon-to-be parent, though Amazon does have a wide selection of titles too.

 

According to their website, The Book Depository offers over six million different titles, all available for shipment within 48 hours. Though located in England, they ship to over 100 countries, and shipping is free. The Book Depository does not sell used books, but focuses on selling as many in-print titles as they can find. They have a subsidiary press as well that has republished over 15,000 out-of-print or hard-to-find titles. Their aim is to have the largest selection of in-print titles available anywhere in the world.

 

Again according to their website, The Book Depository is "the fastest growing bookseller in Europe," with over a million customers and "shipping to thousands of customers every day." In a brief statement, Amazon's Vice President of European Retail Greg Greeley was quoted as saying, "The Book Depository is very focused on serving its customers around the world, and we look forward to welcoming them to the Amazon family."

 

This is hardly the first purchase, whether within or without the book trade, by the Seattle-based mega-retailer. Amazon's most notable previous purchase within the book field was the world's largest used books website, AbeBooks. Additionally, AbeBooks has made several purchases within the field itself, most recently the large European based used bookseller ZVAB/Choosebooks.

 

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