The Book People


The Book People Ltd. is an online bookseller. Founded in 1988, in the UK, The Book People sells books, gifts, toys and stationery through its website. The Book People was recently acquired by Retail Ecommerce Ventures, a holding company that buys distressed brands and revives them as e-commerce businesses.


The Book People started business in 1988 with one van, visiting offices in the
Guildford Guildford () is a town in Surrey Surrey () is a counties of England, county in South East England which borders Kent to the east, East Sussex to the southeast, West Sussex to the south, Hampshire to the west, Berkshire to the northwest, and ...

, Surrey area, where the company found its first customers. By 1990, there were 140 Book People Local distributors around the country visiting workplaces such as bakeries, banks, schools and hospitals. As demand for their books grew, The Book People launched their mail-order catalogue. This was shortly followed by their online store in 1998. Having initially operated solely from a base in Godalming, Surrey, the company went through a period of rapid expansion by opening offices in
Haydock Haydock is a large village within the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens The Metropolitan Borough of St Helens is a metropolitan borough of Merseyside, in North West England. It is named after its largest town St Helens, Merseyside, St Helens, a ...
, Merseyside and a customer service centre and warehouse in Bangor, Gwynedd, Bangor, Wales in 2002. As of February 2016, the company employed over 600 staff. In September 2014, Endless (private equity), Endless LLP, a UK-based equity investor, supported a management buy-out of The Book People. On 17 December 2019, the BBC reported that The Book People had gone into administration. It was reported that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) had been appointed as the administrator while owner Endless LLP looked for a buyer. The business will continue to trade and there are no plans to make any of the 393 employees redundant, PwC said. However, the Bookseller reported that British indie publisher Galley Beggar Press - who had one of the 2019 shortlisted Booker Prize novels - is owed £40,000 from The Book People as a result of a special Booker Prize version of 'Ducks, Newburyport' produced for them. Galley Beggar set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to save their company. The Book People stopped trading online on 30 March 2020. The Book People was recently acquired by Retail Ecommerce Ventures, a holding company founded by former NASA scientist Alex Mehr and serial entrepreneur Tai Lopez. REV specializes in buying distressed brands and reviving them as e-commerce businesses.

Business model

The Book People orders and stocks titles in bulk direct from publishers and suppliers, forgoing the right of return. The Book People also stocks discounted books, gifts, toys and stationery.

Awards and initiatives

Upon opening the new warehouse and customer service centre in Bangor in 2002, The Book People was praised for creating 180 new jobs, as well as 250 temporary/seasonal roles in North West Wales and received a grant from the Welsh Government to help fund the state-of-the-art facility. In 2007, The Book People's contribution to bookselling was recognised as they won the Direct to Consumer Bookselling Company of the Year Award at the The Bookseller, Bookseller Retail Awards. Founder Ted Smart was also honoured with the Random House Group Award for Outstanding Contribution to Bookselling. The Book People previously hosted online bookshops for Channel 4's TV Book Club, CITV's Bookaboo, and the Big Book Babble programme in conjunction with Scholastic Corporation, Scholastic. From 2008 until 2014, The Book People operated and hosted the Queen of Teen award, which biannually honoured authors of teen fiction.

Queen of Teen award winners

* Louise Rennison (2008) * Cathy Cassidy (2010) * Maureen Johnson (2012) * Juno Dawson (2014)


{{DEFAULTSORT:Book People Book selling websites Companies based in Surrey Retail companies established in 1988 1988 establishments in the United Kingdom