Amazon has been flying the flag for electronic books for some time now, but its latest acquisition could see it re-focus on traditional paper books.
With ebook sales on Amazon over-taking hardback sales last year, paperback sales in January and combined sales in May, Amazon seemed to be moving away from traditional book sales. However the announcement of the purchase of The Book Depository could signal a change of intent.
Announced by Amazon last night, the financial details of the deal were not revealed and it remains unclear how the UK online seller will be incorporated into Amazon’s business. The Book Depository claims to be the fastest-growing online bookseller in Europe and will have a turnover of £120 million this year. Following the announcement many wondered if The Book Depository would continue to operate on its own and a tweet from the company said: “The Book Depository will continue to operate independently.”
The Book Depository is built on a “Long Tail” business model, stating on its website: “Of the 30 million titles ever printed in the English language, only a few million of these are in print. We are seeking to make available as many of these titles as possible.” It also publishes books that are out-of-print under its own imprint, Dodo Press. It also offers free delivery to the 100 plus countries it sells to.
Following the announcement yesterday, the Office of Fair Trade (OFT) said this morning it will be investigating the acquisition. The OFT will look at whether the takeover could be expected to lead to "a substantial lessening of competition" in any markets within the United Kingdom. Members of the public have been invited to comment on the deal in relation to “any competition or public interest issues.” Comments can be submitted via the OFT website.
Source: The Bookseller