Today the Office of Fair Trading cleared Amazon to take over The Book Depository, ruling the merger would not lead to a lessening of competition within the UK book industry, its main reasons being:
- The Book Depository only accounted for between 2-4% of the online market for physical books, and that TBD had most of its growth in overseas markets rather than the UK.
- We concluded that the UK book market has a significant number of bestseller and deep-range suppliers both online and off-line and that existing levels of competition will be preserved after the merger.
The OFT found for popular titles Amazon would face strong post-merger competition from bricks and mortar booksellers, supermarkets and other online retailers, including other Amazon Marketplace sellers. For deep range titles, the OFT decided Amazon would face rivalry from other online retailers and Amazon Marketplace sellers.
Well, frankly, the OFT are right about the impact (or not) of the merger on the UK book market, particularly bricks and mortar booksellers, and this is their brief.
Unfortunately, Amazon is by far the dominant online seller of English language books WORLDWIDE and absorbing The Book Depository into its stable, which already includes AbeBooks, Audible and Lovefilm, amongst others, will reinforce its dominance and stifle competition.
We have established Books4Spain precisely in response to the explosive growth in online mass market “soulless” book retailers, such as Amazon, and the continuing decline of the traditional independent book shop with knowledgeable staff and an interesting collection of books.
The site has been designed to re-create the experience, attractions and benefits of a traditional bricks & mortar independent bookshop but with the added convenience afforded by the Internet and technology to offer better choice, an easier way to discover books about Spain, great customer service and, ultimately, to enable our clients to learn more about Spain and its rich history and culture through books.
We sincerely hope that TBD customers with an interest in Spain but who do not wish to buy from Amazon, even if it is an independently run subsidiary, will come and shop online at Books4Spain.
Independent booksellers who wish to use our software platform to develop or expand their own online presence should get in touch – let’s create an online network of specialist bookshops to challenge the hegemony of Amazon (and increasingly Google and Apple) and provide our customers with a real independent bookshop experience online!