UK-based online retailer Book Depository shocked Hongkongers when it abruptly announced its closure. The Amazon-owned operator will only take orders until April 26 at 7 pm Hong Kong time.
Bibliophiles worldwide lament the closure as Book Depository provided free shipping and lower-priced books. Moreover, it proved to be an excellent option for bookworms looking for a more comprehensive selection of English books in the city.
Book Depository announces its sudden closure
The online retailer’s expansive catalogue is about 30 per cent cheaper than local book chains. They also offer regular discounts on special occasions and holidays. All these make it a popular one-stop-shop choice for avid readers in Hong Kong.
The number of physical bookstores in the city selling English books has been dwindling over the years, with Page One and Bleak House Books closing shop. Bookazine, Eslite and Kelly & Walsh are among the remaining ones.
Book Depository did not cite any reasons for its closure, but its parent company, Amazon, revealed that it is cutting down 18,000 positions across its service and book operations in 2023.
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Affordable, alternative online bookshops
With Book Depository’s sudden closure, readers are scrambling to look for their next go-to online shop. Here are a few recommendations:
Blackwell’s has quite a long history, opening its first physical bookshop in 1846! It also became the first online bookstore in the UK in 1995, offering access to over 150,000 titles. Today, it ships books worldwide from the UK, most of which almost have free shipping worldwide.
Better World Books
What’s great about Better World Books, as its name implies, is that it collects and sells new and used books. Each purchase is matched with a book donation, which helps fund literacy and education initiatives in the US, the UK, and around the world. Shipping rates vary depending on where orders are placed but in general, they are free on orders over USD 15 (INR 1,227.61).
Wordery has over 10 million books available ranging from fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novels. Shipping is free worldwide which is why a lot of popular titles are always sold out.
Based in New Zealand, the UK and the US, Fish Pond not only sells books but also toys and homeware. Their catalogue consists of more than seven million books, sourced from popular publishers like Penguin Books, Macmillan, and more. Shipping is free on all their items, including books.
(Hero and featured image credit: Scarlett Tu/Flickr)