Thursday, September 8, 2011

Top 10 Online Bookstores

Large bookstore chains around the world are now providing customers with the opportunity to shop online. Online shopping is easy and accessible. Many customers are busy and cannot visit in store because of inconvenient store hours. Online bookstores are also advantageous as they help boost literacy for those living in developing countries. Books are often provided at great discounts, making it affordable as well. As such, here is the list of top 10 online bookstores in the world.

1. Amazon:
Amazon is the world’s largest online retail store. It was originally started by Jeff Bezos in 1994 as an online bookstore. It later expanded to sell electronics, computer software, DVDs, CDs, apparel, furniture, foods, furniture etc. It was named after the Amazon River, which is the largest in the world. The purpose of this metaphor was to have customers thinking large and grand. Currently, it has websites in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Japan, and China.

2. Chapters/Indigo/Coles:
Chapters/Indigo/Coles is a big box bookstore chain owned and operated in Canada by Indigo Books and Music. Coles was the bookstore chain that was first opened in 1940 by two brothers with the same name. In 1987, Coles was bought by Kmart. That was short-lived, as Chapters Inc. opened its first two bookstores when Coles merged with SmithBooks in 1995. Chapters later would expand its market by opening its internet market to compete with Amazon. With increasing competition, Indigo decided to buy out Chapters in 2001. In recent years, Chapters/Indigo has received widespread criticism for taking over the market from small bookstores. Many small bookstores could not compete with Chapters/Indigo and its expanding franchise.

3. Barnes & Noble:
Barnes & Noble is the largest book retailer in the United States, first opened in 1873. Its headquarters are in Manhatten, New York. They have hundreds of large, expensive retail stores that house Starbucks Coffee shops. In addition to retail stores, the company operates college bookstores in 637 colleges. In 2009 it introduced the Nook which is an e-reader for different books. It also has a website with an online store, where customers could buy their merchandise anywhere and anytime.

4. Abe Books:
Advanced Books Exchange is the largest online marketplace in the book industry. The books that are listed on the website are used and sometimes rare. Many independent sellers can post their price for books they sell and could complete transactions right on the ABE Books website. The marketplace allows small bookstore chains to compete in the larger market thanks to ABE Books. Your options are never limited with ABE Books.

5. McNally Robinson:
McNally Robinson is a bookstore company first opened in 1981 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It currently has 3 stores: 1 in Manitoba, 1 in Saskatchewan and 1 in Manhattan, New York. McNally Robinson is family owned and has successfully launched its website which provides an online store for customers to shop at.

6. Dymocks:
Dymocks is a bookstore company based in Australia for 131 years. It has 73 stores in Australia and 7 in New Zealand. Their ability to combine forces with South China Morning Post allowed them to open 13 stores in Hong Kong as well. As of 2007, it is the second largest bookstore chain in Australia, second to Angus & Robinson. To compete with Amazon, it opened up an online store in 2006, which has been successful. It is currently in the process of introducing ebooks, like the ones Barnes & Noble have.

7. Crosswords Bookstore:
This Indian bookstore is quite popular and friendly for families. They regularly bring in poets and authors to talk to children and families in their stores. There is also a large selection of children’s books, which aim to boost literacy rates in India. To further encourage literacy and reading habits, the stores hold Sunday activity programs. There is an online where customers could easily buy their books online.

8. Half Price Books:
It is the largest family owned bookstore in the United States, selling used and new books. Their motto is “We buy and sell anything printed or recorded except yesterday’s newspaper”. It has 100 stores in 15 states and has established ties with Monsoon Commerce and Alibris to sell millions of books from authors in over 45 countries. It has an online store, where customers create an account and complete transactions when buying books.

9. Kyobo Book Centre:
It is the largest bookstore in South Korea. The company owns 10 stores in 7 cities. The most famous is the Main Store in Seoul, which is located under the Kyobo building. It has more than 3 million (2004) members of their club and has more than 100 thousand visitors online and in store.

10. Regent Bookstore:
Regent Bookstore is a bookstore chain in the United States which provides theological resources to students at Regent College and to customers abroad. According to their website, their aim is to provide a casual meeting place for customers and to enrich the quality of life of the community. Although it has one retail store, it also has a large online centre. This online centre makes it easier for customers to buy books without going to Regent College.