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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
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Alibris Innovation Drives Holiday Growth Despite Economic Recession

Alibris, the Internet’s premier independent marketplace for sellers of new and used books, music, and movies, announced that it grew sales for its sellers in the 2008 winter-holiday season by more than 8%, while ComScore reported that online book sales shrank 1% during that same period. By leveraging new Web site innovations and enabling retail partners to do the same, Alibris succeeded in increasing holiday sales in a challenging retail environment—ending 2008 with 18% annual growth.

In the fall of 2008, Alibris rededicated its focus on sales of rare and collectible books, music, and movies, using feedback from customers and booksellers to launch a completely redesigned Rare and Collectible section in late October. This launch, and related enhancements, resulted in a 34% increase in collectible and rare book shipments. Sellers also responded by increasing listings of collectible books by more than 24%. Alibris’s overhaul of its collectible book, music, and movie efforts helped offset economic pressures that reduced average selling prices and drove more customers to lower-priced used books, DVDs, and CDs.

The Alibris holiday strategy of featuring higher-priced collectible books, music, and movies was balanced by promotions directed toward price-conscious consumers, encouraging holiday shoppers to save via Alibris’s Books on Sale and Bargain Books sections. Alibris sellers were able to get the attention of these deal-seeking buyers by using another Alibris innovation: a new data-analysis tool that empowers sellers to competitively price their inventory. At a time when low prices are king, Alibris gives sellers access to proprietary sales and pricing data that enable them to offer their items at the most appealing prices. Recession-wary shoppers reacted favorably to the competitive pricing and increased their purchases, helping to make 2008 Alibris’s best holiday season ever.

“In a down market, we’re clearly demonstrating that improving the user experience for book collectors, as well as satisfying the demands of price-conscious buyers, helps drive sales to our sellers,” said Brian Elliott, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alibris. “We told antiquarian booksellers in the fall that we’d help them find more buyers—and we’ve done just that.”

Alibris also expanded its business partnerships in 2008, helping independent sellers find more buyers through partnerships with traditional retailers like Barnes & Noble, Borders, Blackwell UK, and Canada’s leading media retailer, Chapters Indigo. On average, partners with Alibris saw sales grow by 9% in the fourth quarter of 2008.

“Alibris brings the incredible selection and low prices of our independent sellers’ used books, DVDs, and CDs to the customers of our retail partners,” said Elliott. “Offering the power of the marketplace to your customers is more important now than ever: Book, music, and movie buyers are searching for deals, and expect retailers to be able to help them find anything they are looking to find. Alibris tests and drives innovation on our own Web sites, and then helps retail partners replicate what works.”

Alibris plans include further innovations and sales growth through 2009. By building on the technology, Web site, and partnership expansion implemented in 2008, Alibris expects to help its sellers and partners gain ground in the book, music, and movie markets.

About Alibris

Alibris is the premier online marketplace for sellers of new and used books, music items, and movies, as well as rare and out-of-print titles. We connect people who love books, music, and movies to the best independent sellers from 45 countries around the world. Our proprietary technology and advanced logistics allow us to offer more than 100 million used, new, and out-of-print titles to consumers, libraries, and retailers, which include Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Blackwell UK, Books-A-Million, Borders, Chapters Indigo, and Half.com. Founded in 1998 and acquired by Oak Hill Capital Partners in 2006, Alibris was named a “Fast 50” and a “Technology Fast 500” growth business by Deloitte in 2005. Alibris is a registered trademark.

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