July 26, 2002, 12:00 AM

Online book sales will continue growing

Online book sales will grow at twice the rate of total book sales through 2006, reaching 10% of all book sales, says Mintel International Group.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Online book sales will grow at twice the rate of total book sales through 2006, says new research from Mintel International Group Ltd. Online sales will grow at 8% a year over the next three and a half years and reach 10% of all book sales, Mintel projects. Last year, online sales represented 8.4% of all book sales, says Mintel, consumer researchers and consultants.

Respondents to a Mintel survey on online book buying stated that the biggest benefit to online book shopping is convenience: 41% like that they could shop at any time, and one-third agree that online shopping "is a convenient way to shop." Many still prefer the offline experience because they want to see the book in advance (43%) or they want the book immediately (36%).

According to Mintel`s consumer research, 51% of those online visited Amazon.com in the past six months, far ahead of number 2 BarnesandNoble.com at 36%. Around 45% of respondents who had made any book purchase reported having purchased at least one book online during the past six months.

Customers who have purchased books online are satisfied with the service: 93% said they intend to purchase books in the future via the Internet. When looking at those who have not purchased books via the Internet in the last six months, nearly one-third of respondents are likely to purchase, and 7% claim to be very likely to do so.

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