Booktopia, Australia’s largest online book seller, has announced a strategic partnership with Zookal, one of the leading educational technology platforms in the Asia-Pacific region. The deal will see Booktopia become Zookal’s fulfilment partner for physical books, from a catalogue of over 185,000 titles.
This will strengthen Booktopia’s already significant reach into the education market, which saw it acquire the assets of the Co-Op Bookshop last year. Already in 2021, Booktopia says education and corporate sales have surged to $53 million — a 40 per cent increase in the disrupted 2020 academic year.
For its part, Zookal sees the opportunity to grow its core platform and take advantage of the opportunity presented by recent growth demand for education technology. According to Co-CEO Ahmed Haider, “Handing the fulfilment function to Booktopia allows us to focus on the continued growth of our SaaS ed-tech platform, which has surged in recent times due to COVID and leave book delivery to a trusted partner.”
The deal also gives Booktopia access to Zookal’s popular educational resources, such as Zookal Study, Homework Help, Test Prep and Textbook Answers.
It provides strategic relationships with suppliers as well as improved asset utilisation and economies of scale at Booktopia’s distribution centre at Lidcombe in Sydney’s west. Zookal’s Alexandria distribution centre will be decommissioned.
Booktopia CEO Tony Nash said “Education remains one of our fastest-growing segments and our partnership with Zookal will ensure we are continuing to grow our penetration into this sector.”
Educational book sales accounted for about 25 per cent of Booktopia’s revenue last financial year, and the company estimates that the sector is worth over $1 billion.
At the start of last year Booktopia compiled a war chest $20 million – $8 million in cash and $12million in debt – to further invest in automation and enhance the capacity and efficiency at its Sydney distribution centre. The equity was raised from a consortium of private investors led by Su-Ming Wong, Co-Founder & CEO of Champ Ventures who will join the Board of Booktopia and John Sampson, Founder & CEO of JBS Investments. The founding shareholders retain majority control and Booktopia will continue to be an independent Australian-owned business.