BookSense.Com Changes Pricing Structure

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At the October meeting of the American Booksellers Association Board of Directors in Santa Cruz, California, the Book Sense budget for fiscal 2002 was approved. This new budget includes a price increase for, reflecting, in part, the product's increased functionality since its introduction.

The current monthly price for is $100. This will change to $175 per month, effective January 1, 2002. The 4.5 percent commission that BookSense. com takes from wholesaler-fulfilled orders will remain unchanged. In addition to the new pricing, certain new features will carry an additional cost to participants.

Stores participating in were apprised of the price increase in an e-mail sent on November 7 and in a follow-up e-mail on December 10. Notice was also given in the ABA Flash This Week of November 16.

Len Vlahos, director of, emphasized that continues to be cost efficient and beneficial for all participants. "We believe that is by far the best value in the marketplace for stores desiring a Web presence--a presence, I would argue, that is necessary for any retail business to be competitive. is a great product, one which we are constantly improving and expanding, but the quality does come with additional costs."

Vlahos outlined some of the recent enhancements along with the standard features of "A 2.4 million-title database; a state-of-the-art shopping cart; robust and secure site hosting; rich, national content; a local affiliate program; and high-level customer service." He underscored that was fully integrated into the Book Sense national marketing program, and said that further enhancements of would be announced in the coming weeks.

"When started, Vlahos said, "our premise was to marry the bricks-and-mortar store with the online store." Noting that that premise hasn't changed, Vlahos said, " is the most affordable way to brand your store while offering customers access to your content, your events, and your books. Comparing the cost and effectiveness of with other marketing/advertising expenses and taking full advantage of publishers' co-op policies for online placements and advertising, you'll find that often you can recoup the fee for" He added that "there are several stores that do cover their entire monthly fee with co-op reimbursements."