The Bookseller reports that Bertelsmann, Random House‘s parent company, is expanding its Direct Group with the launch of a new bookselling chain in the Netherlands. The first branch in the Cosmox chain, which combines traditional bookshops with book clubs and online activities, will launch in Alkmaar this autumn. At least two more stores will launch later in the year. The name Cosmox is taken from the online bookshop launched by Bertelsmann’s Dutch book club operation ECI in early 2006.

The combination of book club business, book trade and online activities is already well-established in France, where Direct Group has become the country’s second largest bookseller through its France Loisirs book club, its online bookseller www.chapitre.com, and its booksellers Librairies Privat and Alsatia.