Welbeck Publishing Group, which was founded in the U.K. in 2019 and has imprints in the U.S., is partnering with online bookseller Booktopia to publish books in Australia and New Zealand. Booktopia is Australia's fast-growing online bookseller and the arrangement calls for the retailer to take a 25% stake in the new business, which is expected to publish 50 titles across a range of categories, including children's books, nonfiction, and gift titles. At present Welbeck publishes some 250 titles per year from the U.K. and has a backlist of 4,500 books.

The move into publishing isn't entirely new for Booktopia, which launched its own publishing division in 2020 and has since published 50 titles under its book club and trade imprints. In May, it acquired Australian publisher Brio Books. Brio began as a publishing services company in 2006 and evolved into publishing mainstream fiction and nonfiction trade lists, as well as self-published books.

Booktopia will invest approximately AUS $3 million ($2.2 million) into the new company, according to the Bookseller. Under the agreement, Booktopia's distribution arm will distribute Welbeck ANZ's titles directly to the Australian and New Zealand markets. Operations are expected to begin in January 2022.

“Within a short period of time, we plan to be a significant independent publisher in the ANZ market with a fresh, innovative, and entrepreneurial approach that connects as many authors with readers as possible all around the world," said Marcus Leaver, executive director of Welbeck said.

Tony Nash, CEO of Booktopia, concurred. "The Welbeck Publishing Group is on a fast track to becoming a major player in the global independent publishing world. As a shareholder in Welbeck ANZ we will be able to champion their international and local titles into the Australian market."