Amazon has expanded its international reach, signing a preliminary agreement to acquire the fast-growing U.K. e-tailer The Book Depository. Launched in 2004, The Book Depository offers about 6 million titles for sale and ships to over 100 countries. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and the U.K.’s Office of Fair trading said it expected to issue its recommendation on the purchase by the end of August. There is some concern in the U.K. that the deal will give Amazon too large a share of the domestic online book market.
In addition to selling print books online, The Book Depository also sells e-books and has its own imprint, Dodo Press, that has republished over 15,000 out of print or difficult to find titles and has made those titles available from site as free downloads. The Book Depository, which has annual sales of about 120 million pounds, said it expects to remain an independent site. In a prepared statement on the purchase,Greg Greeley, Amazon's v-p of European Retail, said, "The Book Depository is very focused on serving its customers around the world, and we look forward to welcoming them to the Amazon family."