Barnes & Noble?s agreement to buy Ingram Book Group, the largest wholesale book distributor in the US, is set to shake up the online book market, according to analysts.
Barnes & Noble has agreed to pay US$600 million for Ingram in a bid to improve its operations and further increase its profile.
Since online bookseller Amazon.com entered the market three years ago, Barnes & Noble has become increasingly aggressive at defending its market share. Initially it said online book selling would not work, but as Amazon.com started to make ground the company was forced to start its own online business.
Barnesandnoble.com, however, has a good deal of catching up to do. In the second quarter, the online bookseller had a net loss of $13.6 million, on revenue of $12.5 million. Amazon, however, had a loss of $21.2 million on revenue of $116 million.
Through Ingram, Barnes & Noble will acquire 11 book distribution centres around the US, this would enable it to offer overnight delivery to more than 80 per cent of its customers both online and instore.
Analysts are seeing Barnes & Noble?s move as an all-out attack on Amazon.com, which has recently opened up in the UK, France and Germany. Ingram is currently Amazon?s largest book supplier. It also supplies a large number of independent book stores in the US which could suffer as a result of the Barnes & Noble deal.
The big question is, when Ingram has only a few copies of a blockbuster left, will it send them automatically to Barnes & Noble? Both companies declined to comment.
Amazon released a very carefully worded statement saying it hoped they could work together to treat all booksellers fairly.
The American Booksellers Association is calling for the Barnes & Noble-Ingram merger to be put before monopoly authorities.
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