Popular Online Bookstore Book Depository Closing For Good on 26 Apr 2023


Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, has announced that it will close its Book Depository online store on 26 April 2023 amid restructuring announcements in recent months.

Customers in Singapore would only have until 7 pm to place orders before Amazon shuts the doors on the Book Depository for good.

The move comes as part of Amazon’s ongoing efforts to streamline its operations and focus on its core e-commerce business. 

What Is The Book Depository?

Founded in 2004 by Stuart Felton and Andrew Crawford, a former Amazon employee, the Book Depository aimed to make books more accessible to the public by selling a wide variety of affordable novels covering different topics and genres as opposed to only limiting their selection to best-sellers.

After Amazon acquired the store in 2011, the Book Depository has since become a popular destination for book lovers, offering over 20 million titles with free shipping to more than 170 countries.

Despite its popularity, however, the store could not avoid the fate of not catching up to uncertain economic conditions and the dwindling demand for physical books in the market. Amazon’s retail division made significant efforts to reignite growth, but unfortunately, the recent economic downturn has had a significant impact on the company’s profits.

As such, along with over 68 physical retail stores in the US and UK, including some of its brick-and-mortar bookstores and cashier-less Amazon Go convenience stores, the Book Depository joined the list of Amazon-owned businesses that had to close down.

Further Cutbacks by Amazon

According to Amazon, the decision to close the Book Depository is to better allocate resources to areas of the business that are seeing the most growth. 

As reported by CEO Andy Jassy, Amazon has had to make the difficult decision to cut down on its Devices and Book businesses and lay off multiple workers due to difficult economic conditions and a hiring spree during the pandemic that left it with too many people. 

These layoffs began in November 2022 and landed heaviest on its human resources, retail and devices teams. It’s estimated that at least 18,000 employees would be impacted by Amazon’s restructuring process across its organisation. 

While we expect the cutbacks to result in the loss of thousands of jobs, Amazon has stated that they did not take these decisions lightly and are working to support affected employees in the company. Those affected by the recent layoffs are promised a separation payment, transitional health insurance benefits, and external job placement support.

Impact of The Closure of The Book Depository 

Apart from employee displacement, the closure of the Book Depository is likely to have a significant impact on the book retail industry, particularly in countries where access to physical bookstores is limited. 

For consumers, the closure of the Book Depository could mean one less outlet for more affordable books. Due to its vast selection of titles, it could also mean added difficulty for some who relied on the store to purchase more niche books.

For industry players in the book trade, however, the Book Depository’s exit could also bring about more opportunities for smaller publishers and distributors to shine. For example, Blackwell’s is another online bookstore that sells books at comparable prices and also ships internationally.

Mr Nicholas Yeo, product manager at Pagesetters, which owns Singapore-based independent publisher Ethos Books, observed that having a business model surrounding the sale of super cheap books may not be sustainable, as demonstrated quite clearly by Amazon.

He said that people need to recognise the need to support local publishers to give lesser-known authors a platform to shine. He also added that it is more ecologically sustainable to buy from a local bookstore in comparison to waiting for the books to ship from overseas.


Along with Ethos Books, Singapore has a slew of bookstores that sell local reads, niche titles and general best-sellers for us to choose from. 

However, it should be noted that BooksActually has shut down—very quietly.