News

Sales grow 70% in first half at The Book Depository

The Book Depository grew sales by more than 70% in the half-year to December 2010, with revenue now expected to be £120m in its full year, almost double what it achieved the year before.

Sales increased to £60m up from last year’s sales of £35m. Kieron Smith, managing director of the online bookseller, said sales growth was "across the board", with the weakness of the pound a fillip for the business. The company ships free of charge to more than 100 countries, with overseas sales making up about two-thirds of the overall business.

Smith said he was "very pleased" by the growth, adding that "it will be even more interesting this year" with the development of foreign language title sales. It will also assess whether it needs a physical presence overseas. At the moment all books are shipped via its Gloucester-based warehouse.

Smith said the business had also been picking up sales from the UK, with home sales expected to be about £30m in its full-year. Despite the problems on the high street Smith said he would not rule out having physical outlets in the future. "The high street is very difficult, but we are not ruling it out. I'm convinced there is a right mix out there that is a combination of the two."

Developments in the shorter term include the public launch of its self-publishing website Espressio and a separate site selling DVDs and video games.

In the year to end-June 2010 The Book Depository reported sales of £69m, and made an operating profit of £2.3m. Smith refused to be drawn on profit expectations for the next fiscal year, except that the company remained profitable.

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It's great to grow sales - but what margins are BD making? Free shipping is a drain, especially overseas, and BD aren't getting the same terms from the major publishers that retail chains get.

I'd like to say congratulations to Kieron & team. Its nice to see something postitive being reported in The Bookseller - its been nothing but doom and gloom since Christmas.

I imagine they are very profitable as they hold no stock, charge the customer before ordering stock, run the website on a shoestring from a shoebox in Eton and have no head office function to speak of.

It's a very solid business model for all the reason enumerated above. The trade needs innovative businesses like Book Depository to keep diluting the big boys - particularly Amazon. As Thucydides wrote, "Hegemony kills itself". That's an opportunity for a well positioned competitor right there....

Delighted to hear this. Book Depository are excellent to deal with from a publisher's - as well as a customer's - perspective.

Interesting talk of the Book Depository being RIVALS for Amazon....but where would they be WITHOUT Amazon? As far as I am aware a good percentage of their sales are actually made via the Amazon website - which means they are actually lining the pockets of their so-called 'rivals'!!

A good result and they should be congratulated, but if the Book Depository was a serious rival, Amazon would probably buy them or, failing that, drive them out of business.

@Rabbit hunting - I know little about Book Depositorys head office however if its as shoestring as you suggest then the sales seem to me all the more impressive.Do you think that Waterstones or WHS pay for any of their stock in advance or do they get 60 to 90 days credit and no returns cap ? Ordering only stock that has a definite customer seems pretty sensible to me and probably allows the rest of the industry order and return stock at will.Maybe.

Their marketing efforts are basically done via Google Adwords. Won't need a big office, just need a computer + internet

@Rabbit a profit of

Glad you asked Book Rabbit. I had a look at the Companies House accounts, and though I did not go into the detail above, it's hard to see any bad news here! The profit margin is respectable for a retailer, and more so given its relative position in the book market and the free shipping offer, but perhaps most interesting is that it only employed 57 people in its last fiscal year: each employee therefore generating sales of more than

HOW can they offer FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING?!?

That's the 100 million pound question!

International shipping costs GBP 20 or so per Kilo!

It's great to grow sales - but what margins are BD making? Free shipping is a drain, especially overseas, and BD aren't getting the same terms from the major publishers that retail chains get.

I'd like to say congratulations to Kieron & team. Its nice to see something postitive being reported in The Bookseller - its been nothing but doom and gloom since Christmas.

@Rabbit a profit of

Glad you asked Book Rabbit. I had a look at the Companies House accounts, and though I did not go into the detail above, it's hard to see any bad news here! The profit margin is respectable for a retailer, and more so given its relative position in the book market and the free shipping offer, but perhaps most interesting is that it only employed 57 people in its last fiscal year: each employee therefore generating sales of more than

I imagine they are very profitable as they hold no stock, charge the customer before ordering stock, run the website on a shoestring from a shoebox in Eton and have no head office function to speak of.

It's a very solid business model for all the reason enumerated above. The trade needs innovative businesses like Book Depository to keep diluting the big boys - particularly Amazon. As Thucydides wrote, "Hegemony kills itself". That's an opportunity for a well positioned competitor right there....

Delighted to hear this. Book Depository are excellent to deal with from a publisher's - as well as a customer's - perspective.

Interesting talk of the Book Depository being RIVALS for Amazon....but where would they be WITHOUT Amazon? As far as I am aware a good percentage of their sales are actually made via the Amazon website - which means they are actually lining the pockets of their so-called 'rivals'!!

A good result and they should be congratulated, but if the Book Depository was a serious rival, Amazon would probably buy them or, failing that, drive them out of business.

@Rabbit hunting - I know little about Book Depositorys head office however if its as shoestring as you suggest then the sales seem to me all the more impressive.Do you think that Waterstones or WHS pay for any of their stock in advance or do they get 60 to 90 days credit and no returns cap ? Ordering only stock that has a definite customer seems pretty sensible to me and probably allows the rest of the industry order and return stock at will.Maybe.

Their marketing efforts are basically done via Google Adwords. Won't need a big office, just need a computer + internet

HOW can they offer FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING?!?

That's the 100 million pound question!

International shipping costs GBP 20 or so per Kilo!