Sale of Co-op Bookshop Assets to Booktopia

Just received the following letter from the University Co-op Bookshop.

They used to have the monopoly of selling acedemic books at universities back in the 1970s & 80s. Not sure if that persisted. Unfortunately, they were often the only place you could purchase the incredibly expensive prescribed text books that were required to undertake courses.

In my opinion, they like Telstra, never moved from the monopoly mentality to a competitive one. Perhaps this is why they tanked.

Vale. Another business bites the dust.

"Dear University Co-op Bookshop Member

As you will likely already know, the board of University Co-Operative Bookshop Limited (Administrators appointed) (UCB) appointed Philip Carter, Andrew Scott and I as voluntary administrators on 24 November 2019.

Following our appointment, we commenced a process to solicit offers for the purchase or restructure of UCB’s primary assets, the University Co-op Bookshop and the Curious Planet retail stores.

We are pleased to announce that Booktopia Pty Ltd (Booktopia) has purchased UCB’s core assets. The timing of this transaction is particularly important, as it will provide certainty to students and universities heading into the first semester of the university year.

Booktopia is a leading retailer of higher education academic textbooks in the Australian market and is committed to continuing to play a pivotal role in the education of our community. While Booktopia will not be providing student discounts to UCB members, all of the books offered by Booktopia are already at a discount to the recommended price and in most cases books will be cheaper than previously available to you from UCB. Further information can be accessed by clicking here.

As a result of the sale to Booktopia, the Administrators are launching a clearance sale. This sale provides you with the opportunity to secure significant savings across stocked items including new and used textbooks, university-branded merchandise and other course requirements. You can shop for clearance sale items by visiting any of UCB’s on campus retail stores or UCB’s Sydney CBD store at 153 Phillip Street, Sydney. A list of campus locations is available by clicking here.

The clearance sale will run until approximately the end of week 4 of first semester or until stocks run out. In addition, you can make online purchases of new textbooks that are not available in UCB stores through Booktopia’s website, which can be accessed by clicking here.

I note that your membership is not refundable. If you became a member after 24 November 2019, we will shortly be sending you another email with further instructions.

Thank you for your past support of UCB.

Yours faithfully

Daniel Walley


At least for the moment Booktopia reports it is 100% Australian owned and operated.

Hopefully the purchase leads them to a greater and more secure future. It would be interesting if not useful, to have a reveal of the wholesale and distribution chain for academic books. Publisher to purchaser?

At University introductory level the rate of change in accounting, maths, classic arts, science etc is similar to the rate of movement of tectonic plates. Yet the level of churn in academic teaching and reference texts induces wallet bleed.


I wonder why I haven’t seen a letter?

Were your membership details up to date?