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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