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Ozon buys stake in leading e-book seller LitRes

0 16 May 2014

Ozon, one of Russia’s biggest online retailers, has taken a big step towards emulating its nearly-namesake Amazon with the purchase of a stake in leading Russian e-book and audiobook distributor LitRes.

While the terms of the deal, including the stake acquired by Ozon, have not been disclosed, it is known that the retailer was looking to get hold of a considerable share, as it recently gained permission from Russia’s anti-monopoly service to acquire Best Book, which operates LitRes. 

LitRes, which offers more than 380,000 e-books and over 5,000 audiobooks, is estimated to hold 55-58% of the Russian digital books market. In 2013 more than 2.5 million books were bought using the service, and LitRes’s app generated more non-advertising revenue than any other non-gaming app in Russia. 

Ozon CEO Maelle Gavet commented that:

“Selling books online remains an important part of our business, even though has long been a megamarket with 14 different sales categories. We hope that print book sales via the web will continue to grow, in spite of the general stagnation of that market. However, we also understand that more and more people are choosing to read e-books, and think that this is a market with great potential.”

Ozon itself recently received significant investment, with conglomerate AFK Sistema and daughter company MTS paying a total of $150 million for two 10.8% stakes. Other investors in the company are Baring Vostok, ru-Net, Index Ventures, Alpha Associates, Rakuten, Cisco Capital and Holtzbrinck Ventures.


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