The Book Depository was purchased yesterday by rival Amazon in what industry experts say could tighten even more the company’s hold in the UK of the online book business. The Gloucester firm was acquired by Amazon and claimed to be Europe’s fastest growing online bookseller. An operating profit of £2.3 million was earned in 2010 with sales of £69 million.
The company was founded by Andrew Crawford an Irish entrepreneur in 2004 with the idea of selling less for more instead of more for less. Its goal was to sell 6 million titles of anything from aircraft engines to flower arranging and separating itself from rivals that were focused on the bestsellers.
Greg Greeley, Amazon’s VP of European Retail said he was looking forward to welcoming the BD to the Amazon family but reminded everyone the deal is dependent on regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. Crawford said they looked forward to growth with the help of Amazon and want to provide an ever improving service for global readers.
Seventy percent of internet books sales on line are accounted for by Amazon with the Book Depository and Play.com its only real rivals. The publishing company is going to be worried because of the power that Amazon will be holding in their hands.
They already hold a huge chunk of the online bookselling business and now acquiring another would make it even more. It was too early to say whether an inquiry will be made by the Office of Fair Trading.
The publishing business is amidst its greatest upheaval as sales are quickly shifting towards online as digital books are rising exponentially each year. Amazon says their sales of Kindle books passed that of printed both paperback and hardcover. They said there are 115 Kindle books sold for each 100 in paperback.