Booktopia strikes Zookal deal to boost education sales

Booktopia strikes Zookal deal to boost education sales

After hitting a new record for educational book sales as universities and schools return to the classroom following a heavily disrupted 2020, Booktopia (ASX: BKG) has today announced an agreement with another homegrown e-commerce success story.

Online global education technology outfit Zookal will make Booktopia its exclusive partner, decommissioning its Alexandria distribution centre in favour of a strategic relationship utilising the Australian book e-retailer giant's state-of-the-art facility at at Lidcombe in Sydney's west.

Both Booktopia and Zookal are founder-led, by Tony Nash and Ahmed Haider respectively, with major milestones achieved in 2020.

Booktopia listed on the ASX in December during a six-month period when earnings were lifted by 506 per cent, while Zookal raised $15 million in March 2020 to support growth in Asia.

Under the terms of the consumer direct fulfillment (CDF) agreement announced today, Booktopia will source, supply and distribute all of Zookal's physical book orders from a range of approximately 185,000 titles.

With the current academic book sales season coming to a close, Zookal is forecasting annual book sales revenue of approximately $22 million this financial year, although with the deal commencing on 1 May the financial benefits will likely be felt by Booktopia in FY22.

The new strategic relationship comes as Booktopia reports its academic and corporate book sales have reached $53 million in the current financial year to date with almost three months remaining, up more than 30 per cent over the $40 million sold in FY20.

The category therefore represents a significant chunk of Booktopia's forecast revenue of $217.6 million for FY21.

Booktopia chief executive officer Tony Nash says the Zookal partnership will extend the company's exposure to the lucrative and growing educational book market.

"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," says Nash.

"Like Booktopia, Zookal has established a strong reputation for holding an extensive range of titles and delivering to customers in a timely fashion. As their exclusive supplier and fulfillment partner, we look forward to maintaining these high standards."

Zookal was established in 2011 to provide students with affordable access to educational resources and tools. In recent years the company has grown quickly to become one of the leading education technology platforms in Asia Pacific with a range of value-added digital services, making it one of the largest and fastest growing student platforms in Asia reaching more than one million students and its paying customer base exceeding 200,000.

Zookal co-CEO Ahmed Haider says the company investigated a range of options to outsource the order fulfillment component of its online textbook business, but chose Booktopia for its proven ability to hold a large range of titles and deliver orders quickly.

"Handing the fulfillment 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," says Haider.

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