Collins Booksellers commenced operations in 1922 as a newsagency at 622 Collins Street Melbourne. Founded by Frederick Henry (Harry) Slamen it was registered in 1929 as a Proprietary Limited Company under the name Collins Book Depot when it opened two new branches at 95 Elizabeth Street and 361 Swanston Street in Melbourne. Mr Slamen remained the principal of the company until his untimely death in 1961. Collins acquired both the freehold and bookselling business. The detailed history of the Hill of Content Bookshop was written by A.H Spencer and published in 1959 by Angus & Robertson.
Collins Booksellers embarked on an expansion program in the early 1960’s. In 1962 Collins was granted a five year license to operate a bookshop at Monash University. The early 1970’s marked Collins move into shopping centres in Northland and East Preston followed by the Westfield centre in Doncaster.
Collins embarked on national expansion in the 1970s opening new stores in Parramatta, Hornsby, Newcastle and Campbelltown followed by new Collins Booksellers stores opening in WA, QLD and the ACT. In addition to new branches in shopping centres, Collins entered into other areas including bookclubs, airports and franchising. Collins Booksellers embraced franchising with a particular emphasis on expanding into viable regional locations.
Collins Booksellers Pty Ltd was formed in 2005 when the franchised stores purchased the business, intellectual property, company names and computer system from the Administrator of the previous business. Company owned stores and smaller, unprofitable outlets were closed and the group became exclusively owned by the franchisees. Other stores and outlets were progressively added to the network increasing its size and coverage across four states (VIC, NSW, WA and QLD).
Today, the company is wholly owned by the franchisees.
The Collins Booksellers Franchise Program continues to expand concentrating on the advantages of our competitive market positioning. In November 2007 the company purchased Book City Franchise Systems Pty Ltd and the group expanded to over 60 stores. The benefits of consolidating two smaller businesses into a larger one are apparent with better buying terms, more managerial support, bench marking, gift card exchange and the ability to swap stock amongst stores nationwide. In addition to the states mentioned earlier, stores are now located in SA and NT.
In March 2009 Collins Booksellers announced the Book City franchisees would convert to trading under the Collins Booksellers brand. The brand conversion initiative provides the group with the opportunity to trade under the one single brand that will reap further benefits associated with a substantial increase in the Collins franchise network planned over the next 3 years. Collins Booksellers is seeking to expand its national network with a further 20 new locations earmarked for new Collins Booksellers franchise outlets in the next 3 years.
In April 2011 Collins Booksellers acquired Seek Media, an online book retail company. This acquisition has enabled the Collins Booksellers business to offer online shopping, previously not available.
In July 2011 Collins Booksellers reached an agreement with administrators Ferrier Hodgson to acquire 18 former Angus & Robertson franchisees and secured 2 former A&R company store locations. This acquisition enabled former Angus & Robertson franchisees to trade under the Collins Booksellers brand and receive the full range of benefits provided to Collins franchisees
In October 2011 Collins Booksellers launched a new web site to provide an easy to use online ordering platform for customers. This new website provides many features and benefits to Collins Booksellers account holders.
To coincide with the website launch Collins Booksellers has reached agreement to partner with Kobo, a global leader in eReading with more than 4.3 million users in over 100 countries worldwide, to deliver eReading to their customers.
The partnership will enable Collins Booksellers customers to engage in reading on a whole new level with Kobo, as well as attract a new reading audience with the technological advancements Kobo brings to e-reading.
“Collins Booksellers is excited to be partnering with Kobo in the Australian marketplace to bring to our customers an expansive list of titles including a wide selection of local Australian content.