The Bookseller reports that Amazon has reached an agreement to buy the online retailer The Book Depository, which was founded in 2004 and sells to customers in more than 100 countries, with estimated annual sales this year of £120m.

Philip Jones at FutureBook has a good overview of the news and what it might mean both to customers and competitors.

The Book Depository has for a long time been something of an unsung hero in the UK bookselling market… It has achieved it by focusing very clearly on one message–books delivered free “worldwide”–and steadily expanding those parts of the world where that message applies. The company now ships free to more than 100 countries, with overseas sales making up about two-thirds of the overall business.

It is big in those areas where Amazon isn’t, and in Australia competes head-on, with some success. Most importantly, it has established networks and routes into those countries, which Amazon simply does not. And I suspect it is these, rather than the turnover, that Amazon is most interested in.

Via The Bookseller and FutureBook


  1. Oh great! In the global market, the Book Depository was one of the few refreshingly genuine competitors to Amazon. I particularly like their free shipping almost everywhere. Now the giant river intends to drown it beneath its muddy & murky waters. IBM, AT&T, Microsoft, Google (the defunct book settlement) and Amazon. What’s with these giant high-tech companies? They seem to lack any sense of perspective or balance. They grow and grow and grow, gobbling up or crushing competitors as if they were fated to rule the world, as if only they mattered, as if humanity were simply an accessory to their urge-to-power. Bill Gates spoke openly of a Windows computer on every desk on the planet, as if no other OS had a place. He ended up in a bruising and destructive battle the feds and seeing Macs grow their market share. He sulked off and built a pricey, half-billion dollar glass complex a few miles south of me from which he intends to fight poverty and disease remotely and in great luxury. Perhaps there’s a link between all this corporate, ‘might-makes right’ and ‘only the strong survive’ Social Darwinism and an intellectually impoverished youth spent playing ‘kill or be killed’ video games rather than reading broadly in literature, history and religion as well as interacting with people. There’s certainly something going on in the high-tech corporate world that we need to better understand.

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