WORLD CONGRESS ON E-COMMERCE: BOOKSELLERS SET TRENDS ON THE
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 abebooks.com 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 abebooks.com 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," abebooks.com 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. Abebooks.com itself is a profitable
private company, unaffected by current dips in the tech stock
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.