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Former Book Depository CTO prepares to launch new global bookselling site

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Dr Emad Eldeen Elakehal, former chief technology officer at The Book Depository, is preparing to launch a new international online bookseller later this year.

Elakehal, who helped to launch The Book Depository in 2004 and spent 10 years at the company, acquired by Amazon in 2011, promises with the launch of Ibiidi a new technology-driven platform that will help customers find the widest range of books published around the world.

The emphasis, he said, will be on getting the logistics right to enable shoppers to buy original language books at an affordable price regardless of where they live.

“Readers who happen to live far from their homeland find themselves either missing out with a wide range of their native titles being not available through their local book stores, or they may feel penalised by the excessive shipping charges they have to bear when ordering from retailers overseas,” said Elakehal. “We will focus on developing an improved logistics network to give our customers, regardless where they reside, the ability to buy the books they desire at a reasonable price.”

The site will also offer local languages and payment options.

At first Slough-based Ibiidi will focus on geographies currently untapped by other global sellers. “Our first focus region is The Middle East and North Africa, where we work closely with publishers and suppliers in the region to bring their local selection of Arabic and English books to the global market,” said Elakehal.

The company already has an office in Egypt and is currently setting one up in the UAE.

Elakehal, who has a particular interest in developing scalable distributed data structures and self-managing ecommerce and supply chain systems, also co-founded Elkotob.com in Egypt, now an Amazon company.

Image: Clare J Sheridan Photography

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