Zola Books, the new independent retailer unveiled at 2012's BEA, has hired Tad Floridis as director of international business development. Floridis, who co-founded Canongate U.S., will, Zola said, be "laying the groundword for [the company's] launch abroad."

The hire comes as Zola, which had a soft launch nearly a year ago, continues to amp up its presense in the States. The retailer's Web site remains in beta, with some titles added, though not all available. (In February the site added Macmillan's catalog.) Zola's founder Joe Regal said the site will remain in beta for most of 2013 and acknowledged that "there is still of plenty of work to do." Elaborating on the progress, he said: "We hope to have about half the available eBook titles live by Book Expo, and even before then we will start turning on different pieces of the technology we've been working on behind the scenes (we just launched our bookstore pledge button), so it'll be a visible process from May onward as we prepare for a real launch."

As for the expansion abroad, Floridis will be focusing on the U.K. market initially--he will be with Regal at next week's London Book Fair--and then moving beyond that. Regal said Floridis will look to "help us target the best opportunities for development of content, identify possible strategic business partnerships, and build expert local teams in each of the markets we plan to enter in the coming months and years."