It’s about booksellers and ebooks:
Last week a new science-fiction and fantasy title, A Dance With Dragons, sold 2,200 copies in hardback in Ireland. What’s more, it did so at over €20 per copy. An impressive result and a great boost for the booksellers who sold it.
In countries like the US and the UK though the same book sold huge numbers of hardback copies AND huge numbers of ebook editions, 170,000 print copies and 110,000 e-book copies1 on its first day of sales alone in the US according to its US Publisher, Random House. In the UK, the Bookseller reports that, ‘HarperCollins sold more than 10,000 e-books’ and ‘ 28,840 copies last week in bookshops.’2
You would imagine that with a perfect opportunity to increase the visibility of ebooks in Ireland and with a clear market for the ebook version, Irish booksellers would have been keen to exploit the interest. You’d be wrong. No Irish bookseller sold a single copy of
via Friday Comment: Irish Booksellers Are Missing Out On Digital Sales | Irish Publishing News.
UPDATE: According to a tweet sent this afternoon, the copany will retain operational independence from Amazon.
Congrats to the Book Depository team. I guess this is a case of, ‘How do you know you are doing something right? Amazon acquires you!’
It’s hard to know what the play is here. It could be any of:
1) Increasing UK and European exposure
2) Building a better position in Australia
3) Defensive market-share building
Or any number of other things. There must be some worries about competition approval, at least in the UK, with this.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN – News) today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire The Book Depository International. The Book Depository is an online bookseller offering over six million books for delivery worldwide.
“Customers in more than 100 countries enjoy The Book Depository’s vast selection, convenient delivery and free shipping,” said Greg Greeley, Amazon’s Vice President of European Retail. “The Book Depository is very focused on serving its customers around the world, and we look forward to welcoming them to the Amazon family.”
Amazon to Acquire The Book Depository – Yahoo! Finance.
I don’t normally complain
But this really got me thinking today:
I opened an account at rBooks just to see what it was like. I have mentioned the service before. I inidcated that I was a huge Terry Pratchett fan and when my home-page opened I was offered a massive discount on Making Money his latest book.
However there was a snag. The release date was listed as Monday 24th September so I was pre-ordering not ordering, the discount was only 20% (£15.19) and judging from the site I would have had to pay a delivery fee anyway. I would have been very disappointed had I not already bought the book in WH Smiths in Stansted airport for only £13.99 on Thursday evening on my way back to Cork!
Why hobble yourself?
Now far be it from me to tell rBooks and Random House how to sell (they do fairly well without my help) but the question does pop almost instantly into the brain, why on earth would you hobble yourself like this? If retailers are selling the book and for considerably less (in truth I nearly bought it landside, full price but in a rush to get through security left it till airside and thus saved a £5!) why wait for the official launch date to sell the book? is it some internal system thing?
Part of me likes to think that there is a reason I simply do not fathom but I suspect that there is not!
PS: Had I been smart enough to wait I could have gotten it from The Book Depository @ £12.23 Delivered but it would have cost £14.47 Delivered on Amazon.co.uk.