August 30, 2010, 1:13 PM

Textbook e-retailer integrates inventory from Alibris’ seller network

Bookbyte.com is the latest seller to use Alibris to extend inventory.

Allison Enright

Editor

Lead Photo

Textbook e-retailer Bookbyte.com recently expanded it site inventory to more than 100 million items in an arrangement with Alibris Inc., an online marketplace for books, CDs and DVDs.

Bookbyte joins other e-retailers, including textbook rental service Chegg.com, in using Alibris’ back-end system to tap the inventories of Alibris’ more than 18,000 independent booksellers.

Students who search Bookbyte.com for a textbook see results from Bookbyte’s own inventory and from Alibris’ seller network. When a student selects a book that comes from an Alibris seller, Bookbyte processes the transaction on its site and notifies the seller to ship the book. At no time does the student connect to the Alibris site. “We’re doing this in a way that is seamless from a customer perspective,” says Brian Elliott, CEO of Alibris.

Elliott says Alibris supports basic branding for sales coming through Bookbyte. For example, packing slips are labeled with Bookbyte’s information, not Alibris’ or that of the bookseller that ships the item. Alibris, No. 116 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, has similar inventory arrangements with mainstream booksellers such as Borders and Barnes & Noble. “It’s a way for retailers to extend their selection without having to take the stock themselves,” Elliott says.

For Bookbyte, the added inventory also means it can offer a larger selection at more price points. “We believe that the outcome of this arrangement will benefit our students in the best way possible, with lower costs on more available titles,” says Andres Montgomery, chief strategy officer at Bookbyte.

Alibris also recently announced a similar agreement with CampusBookRentals.com. The inventory integration allows consumers to rent textbooks from Alibris' merchants through the CampusBookRentals site.

 Alibris expects to integrate seller inventory with about 18 more online retailers in the next year. The financial arrangement is similar to how a bookseller sells an item on Alibris.com. The bookseller pays Alibris a commission for the sale. With the integration, Alibris then pays a portion of the commission to the e-retailer that hosted the sale.

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