Popular UK-based company Book Depository will be closing its e-shutters for good at the end of April, handing booksellers a golden opportunity to give their business a new lease of life. 

Founded back in 2004, the online retailer was bought out by Amazon in 2011.

Amazon announced it was cutting more than 18,000 jobs  earlier this year.

In a 'Frequently Asked Questions' page on its website, Book Depository informed customers that they can place orders until midday on 26 April and it will continue to deliver purchases until June 23.

The online retailer, which provided free shipping to 160 countries and featured a large and extensive choice of book titles, was a popular choice for Maltese bookworms

Two years ago, readers were left disappointed after Book Depository temporarily halted its shipping to Malta as a result of post-Brexit trading rules.  Shipping to the island resumes a few days later, albeit with higher prices.

“It’s the site I’ve used most over the years, dependable, quick, easy, I’m really disappointed,” Clare Vassallo told Times of Malta.

She said now she will have to search for another academic bookshop website which will deliver just as well as Book Depository. 

Other local readers also expressed their sadness at the news. 

'Opportunity for Maltese booksellers to up our game'

While local readers will be scrambling to find new booksellers to buy their next reads, local sellers see the closure of the online giant as a golden opportunity. 

"While it is a pity when a competitor folds, it is also an opportunity for us Maltese booksellers to up our game," a senior source from Miller Distributors told Times of Malta.

Miller Distributors owns Agenda Bookshops, which has several stores across the island.

"Locally, the book industry has taken a hit in recent years, but we are seeing that books are coming back," he said.

"There is a lot of competition online, yet over the past six months we have noticed a lot of customers coming to our stores for the first time and they have now become regular customers."

Roderick Mallia, of Mallia & D’Amato Booksellers, shared a similar view.

“One less online giant retailer could be a good thing for independent businesses if they get savvy,” he said.

“Generally speaking, post-COVID, a lot of people re-discovered the joy of visiting a bookshop and supporting an independent business.”

He did raise concerns, however, that people might be put off buying books since Book Depository was so convenient. 

“If people lose interest in reading and buying books, everyone loses,” he said.

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