Small Booksellers Seek Browsers Online

The New York Times carried this article on independant booksellers\' quests to compete in the online world.
\"Nearly half the independent booksellers have disappeared since 1994, according to the American Booksellers Association. Now the Internet, the site of so much recent loss for the independents, will take on greater importance as a battleground in the next two months.\"
\"Set to debut are two large-scale Web sites that seek to promote the independents. But many wonder whether the sites are jumping in too late and can compete with the customer service of the online giants Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.\"

\"In June 6, the booksellers association will begin to unveil Booksense.com, a site turning the independents into \"local store dot-com, closed but open 24 hours a day,\" says Michael Hoynes, the program\'s marketing officer. Next to come, in early July, is Contentville, a site produced by Steven T. Brill, which will, according to its senior vice president and e-publisher, Annik LaFarge, make some 40 of the most respected booksellers in the country the \"heart and soul\" of its book retailing area. The sites hope to showcase the independents as stores run by booksellers with personalities as unique and marketable as their books.\"

\"But they are built on very different business models. Booksense.com is a \"hub site\" for hundreds of individual Web sites created and maintained by local stores. Each will have its own Web address and set its own prices.\"

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