In the first half of this year, Bookwitty reported having sold 1.7 million books to customers in more than 150 countries. “Our volume is spread out across many countries—mostly individual orders, because we often sell product that is not widely available,” Hadji-Thomas said. He highlighted the company’s ability to source books from countries in West Africa as something unique in global online bookselling. “We tend to do well with expats, people who want books they cannot easily get in their local market,” he added. “We do well in places like Australia and Asia, particularly Hong Kong and Singapore, in addition to the usual core marketplaces where we are based.”
In 2016, Bookwitty merged with Keeward and Levant Distributors into a single entity, operating under the name Keeward Group Holding, and raised $10 million in financing; the combined group had revenue of $65 million in 2016 and anticipates reaching $100 million in revenue for 2017. As for what’s next, Hadji-Thomas said, “We are exploring Latin America as a whole and think Mexico and Brazil, in particular, look promising.” In the meantime, Bookwitty is looking to raise another $20 million in financing.
“Our overall purpose is to help extend the market for books,” Hadji-Thomas said. “Amazon is the market maker for many countries around the world, but we feel that, by focusing on the long tail and not the 2%of books that are bestsellers, we can offer a viable alternative for customers who are looking for products they might not otherwise easily procure. We feel we can compete and, what’s more, we are giving our partners the tools and support they need to compete. It’s a win for the supply and distribution chain around the world, and a win for the customer.”