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Amazon acquires UK’s biggest online bookseller

Amazon has bought the UK’s largest online bookseller, The Book Depository, for an undisclosed sum.

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E-books have been a core focus for Amazon recently as it looks to boost sales of its Kindle reader, but the company’s latest purchase will offer a renewed strength in traditional book selling, which it has found to be tailing off in terms of revenue.

Sales of Kindle e-books outsold paperbacks in the US for the first time in January.

Andrew Crawford, The Book Depository’s chief executive says the company “looks forward to continuing our growth and providing an ever-improving service for readers globally”. The Book Depository tweeted that it will continue to operate independently of Amazon, despite the sale.

The Office of Fair Trading is expected to look into the acquisition to assess competition concerns, although the agency says it is “too early to say” whether it will officially investigate the deal.

The Book Depository offers more than 6 million books for free delivery in more than 100 countries. The company reported sales of £69m for the year to June 2010 and operating profit of £2.3m.

LoveFilm was another recent acquisition for Amazon, as it looks to strengthen its position in all areas of the business.

Amazon did not respond to requests for further comment about its latest deal in time for publication. The Book Depository is referring all press requests to Amazon.

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