It appears that Amazon is shutting down its bookstore, Book Depository. The company acquired the bookstore in 2011 and has apparently decided to pull the plug on it. While it’s unclear why Amazon is discontinuing its operations, it may be due to the rising popularity of e-readers and other digital book options.
Some believe that these layoffs are the beginning of a much bigger problem for Google, as its dominance in web search starts to erode. It is possible that other companies will start to challenge Google’s grip on the internet, leading to even more job cuts.
Despite their relative size, Book Depository found itself at the center of a public protest in the U.K. in 2004 over fears that Amazon’s acquisition would lead to a tighter grip on the country’s online book trade. Ultimately, the deal received regulatory approval and although some argued that it would give Amazon an unfair advantage, Book Depository has since continued to remain a small player in the larger market share game.
Book Depository is one of Amazon’s many acquisitions in recent years, and while it has a subtly integrated branding strategy, it hasn’t done anything to tie the two together more visibly. This could be seen as a missed opportunity as Book Depository lends itself well to the Amazon brand, given its focus on books and reading.
Just weeks after Amazon announced plans to open its own bookstore concept, Book Depository has announced it will be shutting down operations in April of 2023. This news comes shortly after Amazon revealed their plans to open up a brick-and-mortar store called “Amazon Books” which will compete with Book Depository. With so many rival bookstores popping up all over the world, it signaled that the physical book industry was in trouble.
These layoffs may come as a surprise to some given that Amazon has been expanding its book business in recent years, but CEO Andy Jassy has confirmed that the books business will be hit by the layoffs.This is likely due to Amazon’s increasing competition from online book retailers like Barnes & Noble and Walmart, as well as rival e-reader companies like Kobo and Kindle. This move seems to signal a larger trend at Amazon of reducing its reliance on some of its more traditional businesses in order to focus on newer and more innovative ones.
The shutdowns and changes at Amazon have led to concern that the company is shifting its focus away from consumer products. Some believe that this could impede its ability to compete with companies like Walmart and Target, who are increasingly focusing on e-commerce.
For over thirty years, the Book Depository was one of the UK’s leading online booksellers. Amidst growing competition from Amazon and other online retailers, the company was forced to make significant changes to its business model in order to keep afloat. Despite this effort, Book Depository was unable to compete with Amazon’s scale and announced on October 2nd that it would be closing its doors. This marks an unfortunate end for a once prestigious bookseller which will likely leave many customers searching for a new retailer.