Today’s headlines are mostly updates to yesterday’s stories and other ongoing tales:
* The UK’s Office of Fair Trading has officially invited comment on Amazon’s deal to buy The Book Depository and whether it “may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom,” a process which “effectively starts our merger enquiry.” They will decide whether to refer the deal to the Competition Commission for formal investigation and report by the end of August.
* In Australia, the remaining 16 company-owned Angus & Robertson bookstores that have not been sold will be closed by the end of July. The Australian Booksellers Association is hoping that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will look into Pearson’s acquisition of the Borders Australia and Angus & Robertson websites. But since they are buying the units out of bankruptcy, and no other bidders have been named, it will be hard to argue that rescuing the sites inhibits competition.
In response to our query about Kobo’s plans under the proposed deal, the company says “for Pearson, we have an agreement in place to maintain service and look forward to continuing our growth in Australia,” reinforcing yesterday’s implication that going forward Kobo will look for other bookselling partners there.
* In Canada, in a longer-in-the-making follow-up, the administrators for bankrupt distributor HB Fenn will start an auction next week, with “the majority” of nearly 24,000 books up for sale coming from former US distribution clients.
Quill & Quire