Amazon is planning to cut ties with its online book store, Book Depository, which is based in the UK and has been a part of the conglomerate for more than two decades. The announcement comes as Amazon is working to cut costs and has laid off 18,000 employees this year and will reportedly lay off another 9,000 in the coming weeks, CNBC reported.
Book Depository has been a part of Amazon since 2007 but will close its doors on April 26, however, the company says customers can still place their orders online until the closing day at 7 a.m. EST. The company assured customers in a Twitter post that it will continue to deliver any book purchases made before the cutoff time until June 23.
The UK-based book outlet thanked its customers in a post on its site, writing, “From all of us at Book Depository we want to say “thank you.” Delivering your favorite reads to you since 2007 has been a pleasure.”
Book Depository did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.
It is unclear how many roles at Book Depository will be affected by the latest cost-cutting measures and when asked for comment from Amazon, Gizmodo was directed to CEO Andy Jassy’s memo to staff in January. In reference to book cutbacks, the memo only states, “In November, we communicated the hard decision to eliminate a number of positions across our Devices and Books businesses.” An Amazon spokesperson declined to provide further comment or information.
In the thick of the covid-19 pandemic, brick and mortar forward book stores like Barnes and Noble struggled to stay afloat. But saw a resurgence in 2021 following a record number of book sales after seeing more people interested in book and fresh off restructuring their business, NPR reported.
Shannon DeVito, director of books at Barnes and Noble told the outlet that the number of bookstore sales rose by 4% last year and The New York Times reported last year that Indie bookshops have increased their sales exponentially, signaling a switch from online book shopping to physical bookstores.
While physical bookstores have seen a rise in sales over the past two years, prior to cutting Book Depository, it still sells more than 20 million books annually to more than 120 countries. Amazon’s announcement to cut its online bookstore is an ironic decision considering it was founded as an online bookstore in July 1995 and didn’t expand beyond books until 1998 when it offered music CDs before eventually offering electronics, toys, and more.
In light of an uncertain economy, Amazon laid off a record number of its employees since the company was founded, with Jassy citing economic uncertainty and the rapid hiring spree the company did over the last few years. “Companies that last a long time go through different phases. They’re not in heavy people expansion mode every year,” Jassy said in a memo to staff back in January.