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Gloucestershire Business News

It started in a small Gloucester office – and has just made £25 million of profit

When it started just over a decade ago - two people in a small office in Gloucester - few would have predicted gross profits would pass £25 million.

But that is exactly what has happed for a company which decided to build its business plan by investing in the books the then fast-emerging Amazon was not interested in selling.

Founded in 2004 by Andrew Crawford and Stuart Felton the motto of their company, the Book Depository, was to make 'All Books Available to All'.

It describes itself as "the world's most international online bookstore offering over 20 million books".

By 2011 it was so successful Amazon, Mr Crawford's former employer, came calling and was so impressed it bought the business - moving it recently into purpose-built premises just off Waterwells Business Park at Quedgeley.

"The company has just recorded gross profits of £25.3 million (2017: £24.6 million) from revenues of £208.7 million (201: £247.2 million). Gross margin increased in 2018 to 12.1 per cent (2017: 9.9 per cent) resulting from additional fulfilment capacity enabled by the relocation to the new fulfilment centre," said a statement in its most recent accounts.

By the time everything is factored in (administrative costs of £25.6 million), the business made an operating loss of £339,000, with faced a tax on those aforementioned profits of just £426,000.

Profit for the year and total comprehensive income for the year come in at £113,000.

Staff numbers rose from 144 in 2017 to 155.

Read more: Last chance to see your business in Gloucestershire's Top 100 Biggest Employers 2019 

When the Book Depository was sold numerous articles bemoaned the online behemoth that is Amazon swallowing up another independent, but entrepreneurial Mr Crawford had form - having also sold a business called Bookpages.co.uk to the American business.

Until September 30, 2018, the parent company of the Book Depository was Amazon EU Surl, a company incorporated in Luxembourg. It is now owned by Amazon Europe Core SARL, also incorporated in Luxembourg.

Its ultimate parent holding company is Amazon.com, based in Seattle, United States of America.

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