Though BookSense.com ended its free trial at the end of September, a large percentage of trial participants are continuing with the BookSense.com program. Since October 31, when BTW reported that BookSense.com had welcomed 20 new member bookstores to the fold, another 19 bookstores that participated in the BookSense.com free trial officially joined the BookSense.com program.
The BookSense.com free trial, which began on February 15, 2002, was designed to encourage booksellers who may not have evaluated the program since its commercial launch in November 2000 to look again. Initially the trial was slated to end June 30, but interest in the program was so high that the trial was extended until September 30.
Elizabeth Taylor, the owner of Poor Richard's Bookstore -- an independent in Frankfort, Kentucky, that participated in the free trial and recently became a BookSense.com member -- told BTW that she believes that independents need BookSense.com to combat large chains and online retailers. "It gives us an edge," she said. "I think it's made a big selling difference."
Another free trial participant continuing with the BookSense.com program is Maria's Bookshop in Durango, Colorado. "This gives us the ability to customize and build a Web site," said Peter Schertz, a co-owner of the bookstore. "We've always had people coming in here offering to build us a site and their cost is beyond us. BookSense.com was our only opportunity to get a legitimate site up. [The free trial] was a real generous offer and a very strategic plan, but it's definitely paid off."
For a list of the newest BookSense.com members, or for a full list of member stores, click here.