Media giant Bertlesmann is banking on continued strong growth in the market for books bought via the Web with the launch today of its UK online book store.
This follows last month?s launch of Bertlesmann Online (BOL) sites in France and Germany. The UK service will initially sell just books but will later sell CDs and videos.
With 23 UK staff, BOL hopes to woo customers from Amazon with a localised and personalised service that offers lots of editorial content and recommendations rather than by offering greater discounts.
?We don?t want to enter a price war with Amazon, we will offer books at the same price, between 10 per cent and 40 per cent off high street prices.? said Georges Aoun, managing director of BOL UK.
It will carry book reviews written in house, from customers and through partnerships soon to be announced, from major newspapers.
BOL joins the already crowded market, but the company is convinced that the company has not missed the boat. ?I believe we have entered the market at the right time as ecommerce is really taking off,? said Heinz Wermelinger, president and ceo of BOL International.
Last week bol.com announced a deal with Dixons Freeserve adding to the deals with AOL, Compuserve and Lycos to be the sole book seller on the sites.
?Offering a first class service to win customers is not enough, creation of traffic is the most important,? said Dr Klaus Eierhoff, head of Bertlesmann?s multimedia division. ?We will announce more partnerships in the UK to generate more traffic to create a more localised service.?
BOL will launch local services in Spain and the Netherlands in the next few weeks and will later expand into Asia. It will also launch local language services in French and Spanish speaking countries elsewhere in the world.
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