01 April 1998

THE SELF-STYLED ‘earth’s largest bookstore’, US-based, has announced three European acquisitions: UK online rival Bookpages, Telebook of Germany and Internet Movie Database, a TV and film database specialist - the lot a snip at $55 million (£33m). This is Amazon’s first foray outside the US, although UK book-buyers can already order via the Amazon site. However, it means a long wait as the books are despatched from its warehouse in Delaware. The Bookpages deal gives Amazon a UK-based depot from which to service British and European orders. Bookpages managing director Simon Murdoch, who set-up his company only 18 months ago, has been appointed md of Amazon in the UK: ‘We will be very aggressive about pricing in the future’, he promises. The company will also continue to trade as Bookpages, creating an illusion of competition between the two brands. Amazon’s invasion could lead to all-out price warfare on the UK book publishing and retailing scene, not only on the Net - the ripple [or tidal wave?] effect will be equally noticed in the high street.