I reported on a rumor that Amazon was interested in buying the Brazilian publisher Saraiva. At the time I didn’t believe the rumor because it was an old rumor, had been denied by both Amazon and Saraiva, and was generally disbelieved by those in digital publishing.About 2 weeks ago
But apparently this rumor was at least slightly true. Reuters is reporting that Amazon is in talks to buy Saraiva’s online operation. The deal would not include the publishing imprints, 100 plus retail stores, just the online retail:
“Saraiva is trying to sell its online operations. They have offered it to some retailers,” said one of the sources.
A second source said Saraiva has been preparing to spin off its online retail business for some time to focus on its publishing operations and bookstores, where it also sells CDs and DVDs.
Unlike the past rumor, this one might be true. And I can see why both parties would be interested. If Amazon bought Saraiva’s online operations then they’d get an immediate leg up in that market, a move which Amazon has used in the past to enter markets as diverse as China and the UK.
This deal would also give Amazon a leg up in the ebook market. Saraiva reportedly has the largest Portuguese language ebookstore in the country with just under 10 thousand titles. That easily dwarfs the Kindle Store’s selection of Portuguese language titles.
Saraiva is reportedly interested in parting with their online operations because most of their income comes from the brick-and-mortar stores and the online share is shrinking. It now accounts for only a third of Saraiva’s retail business and is down from last year.
Assuming this rumor is true, I’m not sure how Amazon plans to integrate the Saraiva ebookstore into the Kindle Store; the latest reports suggest Amazon will launch a local Kindle Store in Brazil in November.