Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Booksellers fear 'stranglehold' as Amazon snaps up British rival The Book Depository | Books | guardian.co.uk

The future turns out to be now.

Booksellers fear 'stranglehold' as Amazon snaps up British rival The Book Depository | Books | guardian.co.uk

Must admit, I was only vaguely aware of The Book Depository, but the speed at which it has been sold to the big shark in the pool suggests the people behind it might always have had an eye on selling out to Amazon as part of a business plan.

A few things stand out in this piece. The first is the amount of profit these companies are making compared to turnover.

The BD made £2.3 million on sales of £69 million up to June 2010, with a doubling in turnover estimated for the year up to June 2011.

Great to see they were in profit. Not many book sellers are. But they had to shift a hell of a lot of books to get that profit.That's a lot of expense, sending out those books in the post...storing them... running a warehouse. Still, they didnt have the High Street costs/rents/staff... so they made money while retail chains have struggled....

The internet model really does favour the giant e-tailer. Amazon's profits are a healthy $1.15 billion - on sales of $34.2 billion. The bigger they are, the more profit they get as a percentage of their turnover.

But the really interesting stat in this article is saved to the last. According to Amazon -- which sees the bulk of its trade in the US, of course -- "it was now selling 115 Kindle books to every 100 paperbacks".

Kindle is only beginning in this country, but it is hard not to argue that the tipping point may already have been reached. Remember JK Rowling's Pottermore announcement the other week: she is planning on selling her ebooks direct, bypassing any publisher either in the US or the UK? Why? Because she doesn't need them and it would be a nonsense to do it any other way.

The day of the dog eared, disposable paperback may well be over. The ebook is well and truly here.

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