Booktopia

As a POI to e-reader users, l signed up to https://www.bookbub.com/ a few years ago. They send out a daily email with a small selection in your fave category (scifi/fantasy for me) to buy from the usual places, nearly every book l buy (up to 6 a week lol) are around 90c and are often a complete box-set
Regarding amazon, l’ve been a kobo user for many yrs purely to avoid being locked into the whole kindle thing

2 Likes

Sad to see Booktopia going but I must admit that I stopped using them about 8 years ago and before that regularly spent a decent amount on hard copies of books. Never thought I’d go to e-books either but discovered that with deteriorating eyesight (have to use reading glasses now) I discovered the Kindle app and started to read so much more easily with that. I tried the Booktopia e-reading first but couldn’t get it to cooperate with my device but Kindle made it happen seamlessly and reading costs less with no physical storage issues in my house and Also environmentally it’s a win.

Thanks for telling us about bookbub. I’ll check it out.

That site is information specifically for those who were waiting on orders etc.

More general information about Booktopia’s status:

The situation looks pretty grim.

The ASX-listed company’s net loss between July and December was $16.7m, with net liabilities of more than $20m.

2 Likes

I would have gladly paid more for books if they were in trouble. The books I was interested in are mainly specialist books, mostly from overseas. It just saved me the hassle of buying from multiple sources. Their freight was far too low - I would order $1,000 and delivery was $6, but due to the sources multiple boxes would come over 6 weeks. I have over $500 in outstanding orders, I will never see. Never thought I would be so sad about a business collapsing. I just hope a reputable company buys them and continues trading.

1 Like

oh it is grim indeed.
thanks for sharing the article.
I got the administrator’s email (which I’ve not completely read yet - fearing the worse as I have several books on order)
Agree with @zackarii - feeling for all the students who may/will miss out and lose their money.

3 Likes

I paid for a book that is due to ship this month but I have just received an email from the administrators stating that I am a creditor. The email gives a link to Customer FAQ, Initial information for creditors, etc. The link is www.mcgrathnicol.com/creditors/booktopia-grroup/: So it looks like even though their website is still up and running they are not going to deliver on the goods already ordered.

2 Likes

As my books on order are never going to be delivered, I priced them on Dymocks. I want to support an Australian business, rather than Amazon.

Overall my order is $110 dearer (not counting freight or discounts if I sign up). That’s 22% greater. Individual books range from one the same price to one from the UK at 36% dearer. One analysis of Booktopia’s demise blamed their deep discounting which wasn’t sustainable.

Dymocks’ freight is structured a bit differently. They have a base rate, then $1.50 per extra book (up to 5). Booktopia was either $9.99 or free for my typical order, whereas Dymocks will be $17.50.

I found the Dymocks website easy to use, but you have to get the title exactly correct to find the book. They have all ones I had on order from Booktopia, including a specialist textbook.

Dymocks bricks & mortar stores are franchisee owned, so I am considering requesting the nearest store to get it together for me, and timing that for when we next go to an AgFest or something. It will be a 4 hour round trip, but if we are going anyway, why not.

Any other reputable Australian booksellers with a wide range?

2 Likes

Try QBD, their selection is wide for at least some types of books.

2 Likes

Have you tried Angus and Robertson?

3 Likes

Had a look at QBD. Their range is limited - bearing in mind that my typical order contains a mix of specialist to popular non-fiction books to jigsaws. Of the 10 items, 4 are not there, two are “out of stock”, one is only available in store (check for availability) and the other three are OK.

They are cheaper than Booktopia for 4 titles - although two are “out of stock”, one “in store only” (quitting stock/remaindered?) and one a popular recent title.

They have differing prices - the in-store price is dearer than an on-line order. Eg $63.99 on-line vs $79.99 (25% above) in-store. I didn’t see any price difference with Dymocks, but I have not been in-store to see if there is one.

Freight is a flat $8.95

Unfortunately, not for me; but looks good for popular titles on-line, and if you are willing to pay more per title, there are 85 stores to browse.

3 Likes

Angus & Robertson - have they sunk along with Booktopia? From their history “In 2015 Penguin Random House sold Angus & Robertson to new owners, online retailer Booktopia”. About Us | Angus & Robertson

Of my 10 items - only one is available and only as an e-book. So 100% fail for my wants.

Browsing my subjects, it appears nearly everything is an e-book.

Freight is a flat $9.99.

2 Likes

Oh, dear – yes, they (and Borders) are going down with Booktopia’s sinking, too. :worried:

1 Like

I too am confused at how their website is showing up as normal with orders able to be placed- would this not be covered under trading insolvent. Very shady & disappointing. I have lodged a dispute with my bank- may be worth others doing the same.

I went onto the Booktopia site this morning. It seems only items in stock are displayed. When you try to checkout it will not let you proceed - the message is the payment system is down for “maintenance”. You can delete or save for later.

My guess is the Administrators are trying to leave the site and business in a position that a buyer can start trading straight away.

It’s advice the ACCC has also provided, although there are time limits.

The ACCC is also quoted by THD. Further advice included:

if you have problems with accessing a chargeback or the banks decline within the relevant period, you can complain to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

P.S.

I have seen no statement that they are insolvent - even though I suspect that they are.

That could relate to

Booktopia’s plans were hijacked in the week before appointment by the decision of a credit card service provider, Fiserv, to withhold 100 per cent of all credit card receipts.

In other words, you as the business can process payments but you don’t get the money (which means that you need to have sufficient cash on hand to fulfill orders without being paid).

That’s one of the problems with online trading as a business. If you lose the support of your CC service provider then they can bring you down very quickly, in the typical scenario where the CC service provider would do that.

Just to be clear, Fiserv is a payments system, not one of the CC providers.

If they are holding on to money customers have paid and not sending it to Booktopia, it would be that they could become an unsecured creditor.

There would be an expectation that many customers will request chargebacks for non delivery of items, and at least if Fiserv has it, rather than a company in administration, it should make the process more successful.

Depending on whose perspective you adopt.

Booktopia has claimed that there was a 2 month gap between when Fiserv pulled the plug and when Booktopia’s capital raising would provide additional cashflow. With that gap, Booktopia could not continue trading and hence chose voluntary administration.

Convenient fabrication and deflection of blame from Booktopia management, or truth? No way to know at this stage.

The job of the administrator is to take control of a companies finances and that usually means locking down bank accounts. They get frozen, and those who are owed money have to await the determination of what is decided by the courts and creditor’s meetings.

Seems that suppliers of goods and services to Booktopia were not being paid properly for far longer than a couple of months. Some publishers had been withholding books due to non-payment and thus effecting order fulfilments. The withholding of order money in by Fiserv for non-payment for its services was probably the thing that forced the handover to administration.

I would suspect that a call on shareholders for a capital raising would have failed dismally. Booktopia would have known that, and no investor is going tip more money into a company that is in all likelihood going to fail as insolvent and a bad business that never managed to make a profit.