Information Today
Volume 18, Issue 1 — January 2001
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Book Sense, Inc. Launches E-Commerce Book Site

Book Sense, Inc. has announced the launch of, an e-commerce product for independent booksellers. Having concluded a 5-month beta test, the national hub site ( and more than 200 affiliated bookstore Web sites are now live and selling books to consumers. is the e-commerce component of Book Sense, the American Booksellers Association’s (ABA) integrated marketing program designed to raise consumer awareness about the value of shopping in independent bookstores. More than 1,200 bookstore locations participate in the Book Sense program. Through, each participating Book Sense store has its own co-branded Web site at its own URL, its own content, and a title database of more than 2 million books. In addition, there is a national hub site, which aggregates sales and traffic for the individual store sites.

“With the successful launch of,” said ABA CEO Avin Mark Dominitz, “we have provided our members with one more weapon that will help them stay competitive in today’s volatile bookselling marketplace. Participating stores can leverage the power of the Book Sense brand online, and can now serve their customers 24 hours a day—so they are, in effect, open all the time.”

Unlike other online booksellers, sites give consumers the option to pick up their orders in their local bookstore and to interact with real booksellers when making a purchase. Each store’s site can feature staff recommendations, local author information, reading group information, details about in-store events, and more, while leveraging the power of a 2.4-million-title database. According to the announcement, Book Sense has also been true to the ABA’s long history of First Amendment advocacy by making a strong commitment to protecting consumer privacy.

Len Vlahos,’s project director, said: “Our members recognize the Internet as a powerful marketing, selling, and communications tool. But they also recognize the dangers inherent in e-commerce. Working closely with the participating stores, we have worked hard to ensure that and its affiliated sites reflect booksellers’ commitment to an individual’s privacy, and also present a secure and safe environment in which to purchase books using a credit card.”

The hub site gives customers the ability to locate their closest store or to purchase books from their local bookstore at the hub site. offers content that includes author interviews and special features (such as reading lists from the presidential candidates). The site also includes the Book Sense 75 Recommendations List, the Book Sense Bestseller List, featured events from participating stores, a daily poll, audio programming, and more.

“Our mission for the hub site,” said Vlahos, “is to provide consumers with compelling reasons to come to, so that we may redirect those consumers to individual store sites.”

Currently, there are 201 stores that have published live Web sites. That number is expected to double this year.

Book Sense, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the ABA, administers the Book Sense integrated marketing and branding campaign. Founded in 1900, the ABA is a not-for-profit organization devoted to meeting the needs of its core members of independently owned bookstores with retail storefront locations through advocacy, education, research, and information dissemination. The ABA actively supports free speech, literacy, and programs that encourage reading.

Source: Book Sense, Inc., Tarrytown, NY, 800/637-0037, 914/591-2665;

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