dcsimg
RealTime IT News

Amazon.com Goes Global

Amazon.com Inc. Thursday made its official foray into the European e-commerce arena with the launch of sites in Germany and the U.K.

The European sites replace sites formerly operated by ABC Bucherdienst in Germany and Bookpages Ltd., in the U.K. Amazon.com acquired both firms in April.

Last month Amazon expanded an agreement with Yahoo! Inc., and became the premier book merchant on several international Yahoo! sites, including Yahoo! in Asia, the UK & Ireland, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Korea.

The U.K. and German sites incorporate features such as personalized recommendations, book searches, hundreds of browsing lists, professional and customer book reviews single-click ordering capabilities.

The cost and time of shipping U.S. titles overseas will be reduced since Amazon is stocking a large supply of best selling titles in the U.K. and Germany and the company promised additional U.S. titles can be delivered quickly from its U.S. warehouses.

The German Amazon hub is headquartered in Regensburg, with editorial and marketing offices in Munich. Initially it will offer 335,000 titles from German publishers, with access to 374,000 U.S. titles.

The U.K. Amazon headquarters and distribution center is located in Slough, England, and carries 1.2 million U.K. titles with access to 200,000 U.S. titles.

Amazon has been under the watchful eyes of Wall Street in recent weeks, with news that German media conglomerate Bertelsmann will invest in rival online book retailer barnesandnoble.com. The announcement caused Amazon.com stock to decline sharply. Bertelsmann plans to open its own online book sites, BOL, within the next month in Germany, France, Britain, Spain and the Netherlands. In addition, other electronic retailers, such as music sellers CDnow and N2K said last week they were considering a merger, joining forces to stave off Amazon's new initiatives the music market.

"Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de will provide a whole new level of convenience and customer service for book buyers," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com's founder and chief executive officer. "These are stores that are open around the clock where people can find the specific books they want and discover others they may also like to buy. It combines the power of the Internet with a very personalized experience."

The news comes on the heels of reports that Bertelsmann chief Thomas Middelhoff and Jeff Bezos, Amazon's chief executive officer recently held merger talks.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Bertelsmann head Thomas Middelhoff and Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO, held talks in New York, Seattle and Europe to discuss the acquisition of Amazon, but that talks stalled due to the high price tag; as of yesterday's market close, Amazon's market capitalization stood at $4.67 billion. The report also said Bertelsmann previously held acquisition talks with N2K and after CDnow-N2K merger talks are completed, Bertelsmann may revisit the idea of adding the online music retailer to its online stable.