Goring-by-Sea could never be confused with Silicon Valley. With its small Catholic church and row of beach huts, the placid suburb of Worthing in West Sussex does not quite have the buzz of a global tech hub. It is an unlikely location for an international ecommerce business.

Yet Goring-by-Sea is home to World of Books, a second-hand bookseller that ships to more than 190 countries — including Vatican City — and is on track to make sales of £78m this year. The business buys unwanted books by the ton from charity shops, uses a cutting-edge scanning system to work out whether they can be resold, then lists them online. It sells a book every 1.5 seconds — mostly through eBay and its own website — and this year will…