Intranet marketing, by the book

Sep 01, 1998 9:30 PM  By

Do you know how much your company spends on business-related books annually? If not, you’re not alone. That’s why on July 14, barnesandnoble.com, the online division of books retailer Barnes & Noble, launched Business Solutions, an affiliate program that allows companies to manage corporate book purchases through their intranets.

“Computer and business books are the top-selling and second-highest-selling categories on our site. And most buyers are expensing those purchases back to their companies,” says Business Solutions director Mike Donahue.

Business Solutions allows corporate clients to customize a bookstore, or “microsite,” accessible only to employees or clients who have access to the corporate intranet. Companies wanting to educate employees about Windows 98, for example, can set up a Web page on their intranet recommending, reviewing, and directing staffers to Windows 98 books. When ready to buy, customers are connected to barnesandnoble.com’s order page. To keep track of the books and magazines that employees have bought, companies can receive daily sales reports.

Barnesandnoble.com offers more than 630,000 titles to Business Solutions clients at an additional 5% discount from the Website’s discount of 20% for paperbacks, 30% for hardcovers, and 40% for featured selections. Corporate clients work with a barnesandnoble.com account manager who can recommend books specific to a company’s needs. The only cost to the client is for setting up the link, which includes cutting and pasting the selected books’ cover jacket, description, and price information onto the microsite, which typically takes 2-5 minutes per book.

Intranet in action Arthur Andersen’s Knowledge Enterprises, the electronic commerce and interactive media division of management consultancy Arthur Andersen, set up a Website called KnowledgeSpace for its subscription-based clients and employees looking for business news and resources. With a password, users can review the latest business books recommended by the company and then buy the materials through Business Solutions.

“The purpose of the microsite is to strengthen the value of the KnowledgeSpace brand,” says Mark Miller, executive editor of the KnowledgeSpace division. “But access to additional business resources through barnesandnoble.com via our intranet connection will add value for our employees as well as clients. We have complete control over the content we provide in KnowledgeSpace; we have 20 editors who constantly maintain the site.”