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Booktopia beats bricks-and-mortars to win industry award

Booktopia has beat out the country’s biggest bricks-and-mortar booksellers to win the National Book Retailer of the Year.

This marks the second year the pureplay retailer has won the Australian Publishers Association award, but the first year it won it in its own right.

Booktopia jointly won the award with Dymocks in 2016.

Besides Dymocks, the other shortlisted finalist was Lagardère, the company that runs all of the airport Newslink bookshops.

Founded in 2004, Booktopia sells a book every 7.8 seconds, shipping around 18,000 individual items each day from its 13,000sqm distribution centre in Homebush, Sydney.

Booktopia stocks 130,000 unique titles in its distribution centre that are ready-to-ship. It offers same-day delivery and flat fee shipping.

Over 3.7 million Australians have bought from Booktopia in the past decade. The company is on track to exceed $100 million  turnover for the first time at the end of this financial year, up from $80 million in 2016.

However, sales volume was not the only criteria for winning the award, according to the judges.

Other factors were innovation, customer service, merchandising and marketing, meeting key business objectives, operations and logistics and initiatives to promote reading and literacy in Australia.

“It took a while to get publishers and authors to respect us. The turning point was six years ago, with all the focus on Australian content and having an internal team creating blogs and videos and interviewing authors,” Tony Nash, Booktopia CEO, told Internet Retailing.

“It [the award] is basically acknowledges the stuff we did ages ago. That’s great, but there’s a lot further for us to go.”

Nash said he wants Booktopia to unseat Big W as Australia’s biggest book retailer. That will mean more than tripling its book sales.

“We want to be both Australia’s best and biggest book retail. That’s our motivation.”

According to Nash, the company’s current success stems from its early days, when it operated on a $10 per day budget.

“It’s all come out of that $10 dollars, we’ve had no external investment.”

Nash said Booktopia is well positioned to take on Amazon when it enters the market.

“Booktopia focuses on Australian authors and Australian titles and around half of what we sell has Aussie origins. This is not a priority for Amazon so Australians can rely on Booktopia for local content,” he said.

“If you are everything to everyone, which is Amazon’s offer, you cannot be one thing to one category.”


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