Australian online retailer Booktopia is launching a publishing programme this autumn through imprint Booktopia Editions.
The imprint will initially focus on commercial fiction and non-fiction, in trade paperback, using Ligare/MacPherson's as a printing partner. Head of publishing is Franscois McHardy, fomerly m.d. of Simon & Schuster Australia and general manager of Doubleday Australia; a team of five, including McHardy, will be at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair, acquiring rights.
McHardy said: "Our goal is to ensure that great books from Australian and international authors, which haven't been picked up by the traditional publishing sector, get into the hands of local book lovers through our own retail channels and Australian bookstores via Booktopia Publisher Services."
Among the imprint's first titles, to be published before Christmas, are Stan Lee's A Trick of Light, set in his new Alliances Universe, and co-written with Kat Rosenfield. A two-book deal has also been done with New York Times bestselling author Bryn Greenwood for novels All the Ugly and Wonderful Things and The Reckless Oath We Made.
Booktopia has also secured book club rights to Patricia Cornwell's latest novel, Quantum, the first book in a two-book world rights deal made with Amazon's Thomas & Mercer imprint last year. An exclusive book club edition of Quantum will be available to Booktopia Club Members and will be published under the Booktopia Book Club imprint. Book club editions are for sale only to eligible book club members and are not for resale or available to other retailers.
Tony Nash, Booktopia's c.e.o., said:"We are excited to be launching this new stream to our business. It comes at a time when Booktopia is experiencing significant growth both in revenue and profitability. Revenue for FY19 was $131m up from $113m the previous year. Even better than that, for the first quarter of FY20 sales were up 20% on the previous year which means we are tracking to $160m in revenue. This is a phenomenal result at a time where everywhere you turn people are talking about the downturn in retail. We are certainly bucking the trend at the moment."
The company says over five million Australians have bought from Booktopia and two million are subscribed to receive emails. Booktopia Publisher Services, the company's distribution arm, has "over 500 bookstores and businesses as its customer base".
Booktopia was voted Australian Book Retailer of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards for the third time earlier this year.