What is Amazon book depository? UK-based global book-selling site Book Depository is closing down after almost 20 years. And while no official reason has been given, it’s safe to assume it’s related to parent company Amazon’s recent push of downsizing and “role eliminations”. After all, why operate two massive international bookstores?
The imminent closure, set for April 26, has prompted an outpouring of disappointment across the world. But in Australia, will lovers of physical books be worse off?
Book Depository has long had the selling point of free worldwide delivery. This is a much bigger deal in certain countries that aren’t as well serviced as we are, where waiting a week or two for a delivery is preferable to paying overseas shipping.
But even in Australia, blanket free shipping keeps things uncomplicated.
By contrast, if you’re buying from Amazon you tend to pay around $4 shipping for a single book unless you’re an Amazon Prime member, in which case it’s free.
What is Amazon book depository?
Amazon is set to shutter Book Depository, an online bookstore and competitor it acquired back in 2011.
The news comes hot on the heels of a swath of cutbacks at the internet giant, with two separate rounds of layoffs impacting at least 27,000 people across various divisions, including its highly profitable AWS cloud unit and, indeed, its devices and books businesses.
Founded out of Gloucester, the U.K., in 2004, Book Depository (initially called The Book Depository) was a small-scale competitor to Amazon’s online bookselling business, shipping books to readers in more than 100 countries. At the time of the acquisition, some feared that it signaled a tightening of Amazon’s “stranglehold” over the U.K.’s online book trade, a fear that may have had more than a little foundation. However, despite industry protests, the deal ultimately received regulatory approval, with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) affirming at the time that Book Depository wasn’t a true competitor owing to its relative size.
In the intervening years, Amazon has done little to integrate Book Depository, from a branding perspective at least. Indeed, there has never been any visible indication on Book Depository’s website that it’s owned by Amazon, an approach that it has taken to other similar acquisitions it has made in the space such as Goodreads, a social reading platform it bought in 2013.
Why Is Amazon Shutting Down The Book Depository?
Amazon bought The Book Depository in 2011. The U.K.-based service offers over 20 million books annually and was founded by a former Amazon employee, Andrew Crawford, and his business partner Stuart Felton.
In an effort to cut costs, however, Amazon made the difficult decision to cease operations entirely. The last day of its service will be April 26. It will continue to deliver books until June 23.
“We are sorry to let you know that Book Depository will be closing on 26 April 2023. You can still place orders until midday (12 pm BST) on 26 April and we will continue to deliver your purchases and provide support for any order issues until 23 June 2023,” The Book Depository official Twitter account tweeted
This comes at a time when Amazon is laying off thousands of jobs amidst economic uncertainty.
“For several years leading up to this one, most of our businesses added a significant amount of headcount. This made sense given what was happening in our businesses and the economy as a whole,” CEO Andy Jassy wrote in a letter to employees in March. “However, given the uncertain economy in which we reside, and the uncertainty that exists in the near future, we have chosen to be more streamlined in our costs and headcount.”
In total, Amazon will lay off approximately 27,000 people in 2023 according to most recent estimates.
Why is Book Depository closing?
The announcement did not detail a reason.
But it comes amid cutbacks at its parent company, Amazon.
Late last month, Amazon chief executive Andy Jassy gave an update on the company’s operational plan and “role eliminations” .
“For several years leading up to this one, most of our businesses added a significant amount of headcount,” he said.
“This made sense given what was happening in our businesses and the economy as a whole.
“However, given the uncertain economy in which we reside, and the uncertainty that exists in the near future, we have chosen to be more streamlined in our costs and headcount.
“The overriding tenet of our annual planning this year was to be leaner while doing so in a way that enables us to still invest robustly in the key long-term customer experiences that we believe can meaningfully improve customers’ lives and Amazon as a whole.”
He said about 27,000 jobs were being cut from the company — but it’s unclear how many of those were from Book Depository.
Book Depository to “operate independently” of Amazon
The Book Depository has said it will continue to operate independently of Amazon, as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said it was “too early” to say if today’s takeover of the online bookseller would trigger an investigation.
The deal was announced this morning, with The Book Depository (TBD) founder Andrew Crawford saying the company was looking forward to “continuing growth” with Amazon’s support.
Calls by The Bookseller to Crawford and TBD m.d. Kieron Smith have been directed to the Amazon UK press office, which is refusing to release any more details about the deal, including how much it is worth. In a statement, Greg Greeley, Amazon’s vice-president of European retail, said: “Customers in more than 100 countries enjoy The Book Depository’s vast selection, convenient delivery and free shipping. The Book Depository is very focused on serving its customers around the world, and we look forward to welcoming them.”
In the same statement, Crawford, who founded TBD in 2004, said: “With the support of Amazon, we look forward to continuing our growth and providing an ever-improving service for readers globally.”
Amid questions as to whether Amazon’s dominance of the online bookselling market would mean the company falls foul of competition regulations, an OFT spokesperson said: “It is too early for us to say if we would investigate the acquisition or merger at this stage.” The company said via its Twitter account that it will “continue to operate independently”.
In January, The Book Depository said it was in line to achieve revenues of £120m in June this year, £30m of that from the UK. In the year ending June 2010 The Book Depository reported sales of £69m, with two thirds of that coming from overseas, and made an operating profit of £2.3m.
Twitter has been alight with hundreds of users commenting about today’s announcement, with many TBD customers questioning whether the deal means they will still receive free shipping with purchases from the company. One twitter user “@ruddygood” said: “Anyone else alarmed, dismayed and disturbed by the news that Amazon has bought the Book Depository?” Another, “@Johndep,” said: “Ready for the one publisher, one retailer world of Amazon?”
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