Frankfurt, October 4, 1996--With an hour to commute by train between his home in Fredericksburg, Va., and his job at Electronic Data Systems in Washington, D.C., Greg Lockett has little time to browse the aisles of his local bookstore.
For Lockett, a few minutes on the Internet was enough to find, preview, buy and receive a digitized version of Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun to read on the train using his laptop computer. The book, published in print by Warner Books, is one of many popular books now available for purchase and instant delivery from the Electronic Book Aisle, a new Website from OverDrive Systems of Cleveland, Ohio.
"I received the entire book in a single online session," said Lockett, "and I plan to rely on the Electronic Book Aisle in the future as a primary source for books."
Introduced at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Electronic Book Aisle breaks new ground by delivering fully-searchable electronic books from leading publishers to consumers worldwide. The site, at http://www.bookaisle.com on the World Wide Web, features a growing inventory of cooking, hobby, self-help, how-to, reference, computing and business books from Warner Books, Little, Brown, Simon & Schuster, Prentice Hall, McGraw-Hill, and John Wiley & Sons, as well as independent authors.
Web surfing visitors can preview the table of contents, index or sample chapter of a book, and then purchase and immediately download to their computers entire books or individual chapters.
"Browsing the Electronic Book Aisle is the ultimate in immediate gratification," said Steve Potash, president of OverDrive Systems. "Unlike an online catalog that takes orders and ships printed books, our Website invites customers to browse the pages of actual books, including photos, charts and hypertext links."
Initial titles in stock are priced at $8 to $15 for a complete book download, but until the end of October, the following titles from Time Warner Electronic Publishing are on sale for $3.95, to celebrate the site's grand opening:
The Entertainment Weekly Guide to the Greatest Movies of All Time
Official Slacker Handbook
Bartlett's Book of Business Quotations
Earl Mindell's Vitamin Bible
30 Low-Fat Meals in 30 Minutes
Test Your Rock IQ
"The Electronic Book Aisle presents a new opportunity for Time Warner Electronic Publishing to serve its customers by delivering high-quality books in an instant," said Laurence J. Kirshbaum, chairman of Time Warner Trade Publishing.
Until the end of October, visitors to the Electronic Book Aisle can download a free sample of The Ballplayers, profiles of hall-of-fame baseball personalities and teams. The book is edited by independent author Mike Shatzkin.
During a typical online visit to the Electronic Book Aisle, the visitor selects a subject, Entertainment for example, and then a book, such as The Entertainment Weekly Guide to the Greatest Movies of All Time. The visitor can then view a sample chapter that displays itself in commonly-used Web browsers. The visitor can also search the entire book for movies with Monroe and Lemmon, finding "Some Like it Hot." The visitor can then purchase and download the book in electronic form using a major credit card.
"The Electronic Book Aisle is designed for the consumer who needs to find a quick answer to a question like, 'What four teams did Reggie Jackson play for?' or who wants to add to a library of quick-reference books," said Potash.
Most books require downloading a file smaller than 2 megabytes, which takes 5 to 10 minutes using common modem speeds.
OverDrive's new Website is gaining momentum within the online community of readers with the help of leading independent booksellers who participate as retailers. For these retailers, the Electronic Book Aisle becomes a service of their own Websites they can promote online, in newsletters and with in-store promotions.
"We are moving as rapidly as possible to offer the public information in all media options available," said Will Murray, owner of Murray's Bookstore in Spokane, Wash., whose Website at http://www.murrayco.com/mbs.html features the Electronic Book Aisle. "With new books costing $24 to $27, digital downloading dramatically reduces the manufacturing and distribution costs."
Other booksellers participating in the Electronic Book Aisle include Tattered Cover in Denver, Cody's Books in Berkeley, Calif., Hungry Mind in St. Paul, Minn, and many more, listed on the Website at http://www.bookaisle.com.
OverDrive Systems, Inc., is a leading distributor of online books and developer of online and electronic publishing technology, since 1986. OverDrive can be reached by phone at (216) 292-3425, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax at (216) 292-4888, or by mail at 23980 Chagrin Blvd., Suite 200, Cleveland, Ohio, 44122. Explore the OverDrive website at http://www.overdrive.com.