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Marketing in the Internet - as seen from Italy

by Giancarlo Livraghi


No. 20 - June 1, 1998


Best wishes, Bookshop Italia

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Best wishes, Bookshop Italia
This is "big news" – I hope. The first large Italian online bookstore. Four months ago the idea was discussed in this newsletter. There were expectations, at the time, that Alice was working on such a project; they have come true, as announced in a press release by Bookshop Italia.

Internet Bookshop Italia

They promise that service will start on June 3 on
This is a joint venture of Informazioni Editoriali (Milan) and an established online service in the UK, Internet Bookshop (Oxford). Bookshop Italia will offer 250,000 books in Italian, in addition to the 1,200.000 in English provided by the British partner. They promise delivery in 3 to 4 days in Italy, 3 to 10 in the rest of the world.

I must admit I am biased on this issue, because I have always been fond of books; but I believe this event is not only relevant for the publishing industry, but for all potential developments of business online. I am quite convinced that facts are much more important than all the big talk (and fantastic projections) abut "electronic commerce". We need icebreakers – not hot air balloons. If people will learn how convenient it is to buy books online (especially those that are not easily found in a local bookstore) and if they will be happy with the service... that can open the way for many other online transactions. Making people comfortable with a behavior is much more important than just trying to persuade them to do something unfamiliar: especially in a country, like ours, where mail-order never was a widespread habit.

So far I have been loyal to Amazon (their service is excellent and I find the online interface of their main competitor, Barnes&Noble, rather clumsy and disappointing) but I think there will be two online bookstores in my future: if only because Amazon doesn’t carry books in Italian. Also... we shall see if Bookshop will be competitive, for books in English, in cost and time of delivery. And if one day IBS had effective links with French, German, Spanish (etcetera) bookstores, many people could find their offer very attractive.

I think we should all wish success to Bookshop Italia, and hope that they will provide very good service. Because most of their customers, if satisfied, will be open to other offers online.

I shall get into greater depth on this subject after I’ve had a chance to test their performance. I really hope they will live up to their promises.


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