Booktopia partners with Zookal, taking on its $22 million annual book business

Books being hand-unwrapped at Booktopia.

Booktopia has signed an agreement with Zookal to handle the sourcing, supply and distribution of its book sales, expecting the deal — which covers 185,000 titles — to potentially add $22 million to its revenue in the 2022 financial year.

As part of the deal, Zookal will be closing its Alexandria distribution centre in Sydney, with Booktopia handling the sale and storage of books through its Lidcombe site in Sydney’s west.

Zookal’s core business is in the online education space, with its academic book sales being complementary.

Booktopia’s Lidcombe site features heavy automation, including book wrapping, with robots currently being installed to remove additional manual labour.

Booktopia chief executive Tony Nash told SmartCompany the deal allows both businesses to do what they do best.

“[Zookal] have developed an online learning platform for year 10 to year 12 high school students, and university students to get access to good study programs, extra material to help them excel at uni,” Nash says.

“They’ve been using the sale of books as a customer acquisition tool to get people to their learning platform.

“Rather than them having a warehouse, and pack all the books themselves, it’s in their interests to double and triple down on their investment in their learning platforms.

“They can do that, and pass those orders on to us to fulfill. There is a fair bit of extra revenue for us,” he notes. 

Booktopia was founded in 2004, and has grown to become Australia’s largest listed online book retailer.

In the year ending 30 June 2020, about 25% of Booktopia’s total sales were in the education and corporate sales market according to the company, while in the current financial year, Booktopia says it has already reached a record high of $53 million.

The Australian educational book sector was estimated to account for $804 million of sales in the consumer book market in FY2020, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Combined with the books to business and books to the government sector, Booktopia estimates the total educational book market exceeded $1 billion in FY2020.

SmartCompany Plus recently took a behind-the-scenes look at Booktopia’s Lidcombe site, interviewing the company’s chief executive officer, chief technology officer and chief marketing officer to understand what sets it apart from its competitors.

If you want to understand how Booktopia grew to its current size, it’s the perfect time to sign up for SmartCompany Plus.


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