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16th January 2001

(Victoria, BC) - The world's booksellers are making a case for e-business, according to Vangelis Souitaris, a lecturer in Marketing and Entrepreneurship at Imperial College Entrepreneurship Centre in the United Kingdom. Souitaris will explain why online bookstores are some of the most effective businesses on the Internet, at the Second World Congress on the Management of Electronic Commerce at the Hamilton Convention Centre, January 17-19, 2001.

Books are one of the top items bought online, but not only from the sites you can name off the top of your head. Thousands of independent booksellers do a successful business online, usually as members of large databases that link customers to the listings of out-of-print, rare, and secondhand books. The largest of these sites, a Canadian company called collects book listings from over 7,000 dealers worldwide, and handles the technical back up and advertising to attract a growing pool of online shoppers. Customers to the web site can find more than 24 million volumes, including recently published books, out-of-print books, rare, and secondhand books.

Souitaris will present the paper, The impact of Internet trading on the UK antiquarian and second-hand bookselling industry, based on the original research of Jane Whewell, an MBA graduate at the management school. In the UK, where Whewall did her research, the percentage of booksellers doing business on the Internet is over five times greater than the UK industry average of businesses involved in e-commerce. All online booksellers interviewed said the Internet had helped them reach new customers and increase sales. In North America, booksellers are equally successful and prevalent on the Net.

"Independent booksellers are a prime example of small business success on the Internet," director Keith Waters said. "As this very traditional market moves further and further into an e-commerce environment, it proves that the Internet is a viable means of doing business. It proves that you can stay in touch with your customers, increase your customer base, and enjoy yourself while doing business on the Internet. You can also have the flexibility of maintaining a storefront, if that is what you love. And booksellers are happy on the Net. They can go to bed at night, and wake up having made sales overnight."

In fact, the Net is enabling more small booksellers to start businesses and survive the tough market without having to set up traditional shops. At the same time, booksellers who have both a traditional shop and an online business are managing to maintain both with increased profit. itself is a profitable private company, unaffected by current dips in the tech stock indexes.

Some scholars say that particular industry characteristics make certain companies better prepared to exploit Internet trading. For instance, retailers who already use catalogues have distribution and database management skills that make them a perfect group for e-commerce success.

Abebooks is the world's largest book site, listing over 35 million books. With offices in Canada and Germany, abebooks provides independent booksellers with business support, technological infrastructure and international marketing, enabling booksellers of any size to compete on an equal footing with book superstores. Through its acquisition of Germany's JustBooks, now abebooks Europe, the company now serves over 10,000 member booksellers worldwide via web sites in English, German, and French. Abebooks was launched on the Internet in May of 1996 and offers consumers the most complete collection of rare, used, and out-of-print books available anywhere.

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Marci Crossan
Media Relations
Tel: +1-250-412-3258
Fax: +1-250-475-6014

#4 - 410 Garbally Rd.
Victoria, BC
V8T 2K1