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Books.com.tw reports 40% rise in '07

Books.com.tw reports 40% rise in '07

Taiwan's largest online bookstore - books.com.tw - has seen its turnover increase nearly 40 percent this year, thanks to its successful alliance with 7-Eleven, officials said yesterday.
Established in 1995, the bookstore posted sales of less than NT$10 million per annum in the beginning and was soon stranded in an operational crisis following the bursting of the dot-com bubble in the early 2000s.
However, an NT$100 million investment in the bookstore in January 2001 by President Chain Store Corp. - which runs 7-Eleven convenient stores in Taiwan - revived the business, and the alliance has since provided customers with a new option - paying upon delivery at any 7-Eleven outlet nationwide.
The bookstore saw its turnover increased to NT$1.37 billion and its net profit amounted to NT$53 million in 2006, with almost 90 percent of orders being payed upon delivery at 7-Eleven, officials at the bookstore said.
In 2007, the bookstore's turnover has further expanded to NT$1.9 billion, with book sales accounting for NT$1.3 billion, up approximately 40 percent over the year-earlier level, the officials said.
A total of 6 million copies of 229,845 kinds of books have been sold so far this year, with one copy sold every five seconds on average, they said.
NT$30 billion market
According to market research data provided by PCSC, the scale of Taiwan's potential book market is estimated at NT$30 billion per year, with the virtual market accounting for NT$12 billion, or 40 percent. As the total turnover of online booksellers has amounted to only NT$3 billion to NT$3.5 billion in 2007, the PCSC expects online book sales to increase by up to NT$4.5 billion, or 40 percent, in 2008.
Meanwhile, books.com.tw tallies reveal that the five top-selling categories of books in 2007 are finance and investment, arts, comics, healthcare, and fiction, in that order.
On books providing financial and investment information, the number of buyers for this type of book has risen 119 percent among men and 152 percent among women in 2007, with men preferring those focusing on practical, technical analysis, and women favoring those discussing theories, the tallies show.
Although books on art accounted for only 4 percent of all books available on the Taiwan market, their sales have posted an increase of 130 percent in 2007, according to the bookstore.
On comics, the sales of the top-10 best-selling comics series have accounted for 14 percent of the total turnover for 2007.
Meanwhile, the popularity of books on healthcare has been increasing with the aging of the country's population. Between 2005 and 2007, the quantity of books purchased by buyers in the 41-50 age group has jumped 75 percent. While the number of buyers of books providing healthcare information has climbed 16 percent among men and 21 percent among women in 2007, the number of buyers aged over 40 is 2.5 times as high as that of buyers in the 23-30 age group.
As for works of fiction, the number of new fiction works as a percentage of all fiction works available on the Taiwan market increased from 49 percent in 2006 to 54 percent in 2007, with the number of male buyers rising 9.4 percent - 4.7 times as high as the growth rate among female buyers, according to the tallies.