You won't hear many booksellers saying "put down that book," except maybe in the case of the print version of the ABA Book Buyer's Handbook. Since the ABA Book Buyer's Handbook database was made available online at http://handbook.bookweb.org in April 2002, activity on the site has steadily increased. To date, the online Handbook has been accessed more than a million times.
The print Handbook has long been the directory that independent bookstores use to order books so it's no surprise that many have welcomed its online counterpart. The online version maintains the integrity of the print format while incorporating features only available with the capabilities of an online environment.
Publishers too are utilizing the online ABA Book Buyer's Handbook. ABA has provided each listed publisher with an online account to access their company listing and update their terms of sale as changes occur. While booksellers are searching listings on one end of the Web site, publishers are accessing and updating their company information on another. Their changes are then forwarded to the Handbook staff and uploaded to the online database.
Booksellers can electronically search up-to-date trade sales terms for over 7,000 publishers, and, since the Web site was constructed with minimal graphics and zero banner ads, searching takes only seconds -- even with the slowest of dial-up Internet connections.
All features are accessible through the Handbook homepage, so, once users have logged-on, answers to their queries are only a click away. At a glance, users can view Current Special Offers, Recently Updated Listings, ISBN Prefix Cross-References, as well as find specific data using the Search Tools.
A search-tool header bar atop every online Handbook Web page allows a new search to be initiated at any time based on Company Name, ISBN Prefix, Keyword(s), or any combination of these. These search tools offer a simple expeditious means to sort through information traditionally only possible by leafing through an 800-page book.
In addition to trade sales terms, an entirely new feature has been developed for the online Handbook. In a section titled Special Offers, publishers can showcase products that are being offered with special terms for a limited amount of time.
One last feature of note is the submission form available to users of the Web site. If publisher terms, short-term discounts, or special offers are not reflected in the ABA Book Buyer's Handbook, users are asked to utilize the "New and Changing Terms Alert Form" located on the homepage to inform the Handbook staff.
Access to the ABA Book Buyer's Handbook is a benefit of membership in the American Booksellers Association. (For information on becoming a member of ABA, click here or contact ABA by e-mail at email@example.com.) However, publishers, distributors, and wholesalers need not be members of ABA to be included in the book. Publishers in need of an Activation Code and instructions to view and update their Handbook listing should contact Tory Chiaramida, online handbook coordinator, at (914) 591-2665, ext. 1263, or firstname.lastname@example.org. --Tory Chiaramida