Booktopia Ranks First For Retail Revenue Growth

Booktopia first made The AFR Fast 100 list in 2009 when its revenue was $7.4 million, when incredibly sales for the first 9 days of November of that year was what the company did for the whole of 2008.

Since then, Booktopia has made the list eight times over nine years. This year it came 75th with 37.1 percent growth and revenues of $99.7 million for FY17, up from 86th spot the previous year. The online bookstore was also ranked seventh for revenue and first for retail revenue in the list.

“It is a remarkable achievement. We cracked the $100 million revenue mark for a trailing 12-month period in July this year. In 2007 our revenue was $2.2 million. That means for the past decade our revenue has grown 46 percent year-on-year,” remarks, Booktopia’s CEO, Tony Nash. “The secret to our success is pretty simple – we just focus on what our customers want.”

Nash says that being on the list once again is testimony to the company’s 150 hardworking staff and its on-going customer loyalty from over 3.8 million Australians who have bought from Booktopia.

This year, the online book retailer was also voted National Bookstore of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards.

On the 4th February 2004 (the same day that Facebook started) Booktopia was founded by Tony Nash, Steve Traurig and Simon Nash in Sydney, Australia. In 2015, Booktopia acquired 130-year-old iconic Australian bookstore, Angus & Robertson; it runs both websites independently.

Nash says that in 2004, the company initially commenced with 135 book titles listed on its online store – it now stocks over 135,000 titles. “Four years ago staff pushed orders around in hand trolleys and we had $180,000 of automation, that being, one packing machine. Today there is $9 million worth of automation, including five automatic packing machines,” he says. “It took 3 days to sell the first book in 2004. Now items are sold every 7.6 seconds.”

This Christmas Nash says Booktopia’s 13,000 square meter distribution centre is shipping around 25,000 individual items per day.

Booktopia’s philanthropic program has donated $750K worth of books and cash to literacy-based projects, indigenous literacy, writers’ festivals, readers’ conferences and school library fundraising projects.

All of this, Nash says, has been accomplished from an initial operating budget of $10 per day way back in 2004, confirming the company has had no external investment.

“Everyone is constantly asking me about what are you going to do about Amazon? And I say, when you are everything to everyone, you simply cannot be one thing to one vertical. We have been competing with Amazon for over a decade. Australian book buyers have proven to us that if you hold stock, price competitively, deliver quickly and be an expert in your field then you can be a legitimate alternative to Amazon,” he says.

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