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Amazon vs Booktopia: Australia’s online book business heats up

Amazon subsidiary, The Book Depository, is targeting the Australian market by expanding its range of Australian titles and shipping from a distribution centre in Melbourne.

Book Depository, which was purchased by Amazon in 2011, announced it will add 25,000 titles written by Australian authors, making them available to its customers in 116 countries.

The Book Depository has served Australian online shoppers since its launch in 2005, however now stock will be shipped from Melbourne after a deal was struck with third-party packaging company, DAI Post.

“We’re thrilled to be able to add even more local Australian books – particularly those from up-and-coming authors – to our existing selection,” said Group MD, Chris McKee. “We’re book lovers and it’s great to connect Australian authors with readers all over the world.”, Australia’s largest online book retailer, says it is ready to take on Amazon on Australian soil and has been preparing over the past 12 years for this very day.

Last year Booktopia acquired Angus & Robertson Bookworld and retains 83 per cent market share of all online book sales in Australia, excluding overseas retailers.

Booktopia has had 30-40 per cent growth annually for 12 straight years and has no intention of slowing down, says CEO Tony Nash. Booktopia has hired Investec as its corporate advisor to conduct a strategic review of options, which includes considering a potential IPO in 2016.

“The keys to Booktopia’s success have been multiple, however the core fundamentals have been to hold a lot of stock in our Sydney Distribution Centre, placing our 1300 number on our website so Australians can contact us in person, owning and writing our own software, investing in automation, employing book experts, focusing on Australian authors and titles and having a comprehensive philanthropic program that supports literacy in Australia and sponsors writers festivals, readers conferences and school library fundraising projects,” said Nash.

Nash said Booktopia doesn’t compete with face-to-face service offered by physical bookstores, but has developed its own valuable version of book retailing.

“We have over 100,000 titles in stock and at competitive prices, that is true, but we also employ book merchandising experts to organise our core categories in conjunction with our proprietary algorithms,” Nash said. “Plus we employ journalists experienced in the arts that write compelling newsletters and interview authors in our recording studio for our podcasts and YouTube TV channel introducing book buyers to new titles they would never have considered before.”

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