The letter to the ILAb's presidents
Dear ILAB-LILA presidents
In Madrid, on September 8, the Association Marelibri.com is invited during the presidents' meeting in the morning, to discuss a possible partnership of ILAB/LILA in the Marelibri project.
What is Marelibri ?
Marelibri.com is a non-profit organization, formally established in Milan Italy. It has been founded by five European sites. Two of these are cooperative associations, owned by a group of independent booksellers, the three others are small private companies, driven by owners who started themselves as professional booksellers. They are Pascal Chartier (Livre-rare-book.com, France), Sergio Malavasi (Maremagnum.com, Italy) and Piet Wesselman (Antiqbook.com, The Netherlands). What all five have in common is a strong wish to serve the professional bookselling community, by providing good and friendly services for acceptable rates. Each of the participating sites accepts only professional booksellers and monitors their customers' or members' sales conditions and behaviour.
The aim of the Association is to realize a mega-search engine, made by independent professional booksellers only, where all professionals of the world can be represented. The site wants to achieve dimensions big enough to compete with any site now on the Internet. Since January 2008 Marelibri.com is fully functional and already well performing, a simple and efficient tool for the sale of books on the international market. Although at present all members are European, our policy is to grow towards an organization that unites all independent professional booksellers of the world (and ILAB/LILA is expecially important from this point of view).
The Association Marelibri.com has two kinds of membership: full members and affiliate members, (affiliate pay less). Presently full members are the five founding members: since July 1st Booksatpbfa.com (United Kingdom) joined Marelibri as an affiliate member: we are now talking with Antikvariat.net (Scandinavia), Ioba and Tomfolio (US based professional associations) in order to affiliate them in the near future.
Membership is by invitation. Only websites owned by booksellers or bookseller associations, with the clear aim to support independent booksellers, will be invited. Big commercial companies (like Abebooks, Alibris or Amazon) will be excluded, mainly because they accept private vendors as well as professional booksellers. Full member and affiliate members meet at least once in a year in order to discuss how to promote the site, approve balance, etc.
Costs of Marelibri are shared among its members. The Marelibri website itself does not generate income. All orders are forwarded to the order forms of the participating websites. If in the future some form of income can be generated (e.g. advertising) this will only serve to pay for Marelibri's costs. Presently Marelibri is underfinanced and in part relies on services voluntarily delivered by the founding members. With the expansion of its membership we will also obtain a financial balance. Marelibri's main costs are for the website: two servers stationed in France; and staff for database maintenance and software. If income from membership fees should exceed these 'basic needs' Marelibri will spend some on advertising. An annual financial report will be extended to all members of Marelibri.
What differentates Marelibri's database and search facilities from so-called metasearch engines is that Marelibri gathers all book data fom its participants into one large database. A unique database offers better opportunities for presentation and speed, and does not rely on the performance of the participating sites. In the near future Marelibri will be able to avoid any repetition of the records of a book which a single bookseller is presenting on various platforms. It will only show the volume once alongside the logos of the various platforms, giving the customer a free choice of where he wants to order it from.
Marelibri's first goal is to grow to a bookselling website with a large, comprehensive offer of books. It should have enough books in all ranges, subjects and languages to provide a one-stop shop for the book buying public and the professional librarian or archivist. There is a Thesaurus - a presentation of books by subject - to enable an attractive way of accessing the database. Additional services will be provided. In cooperation with all participants content will be developed to provide better services for the professional bookseller (blog, several languages, etc.).