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Swiss turn to Internet for books

Online purchases are increasing but people still prefer shopping in person

(Keystone)

Internet booksellers have seen business boom over the festive season, with more and more Swiss choosing to buy their reading material online.

Online book retailers reported their best months yet in November and December - traditionally the strongest period of the year. The retailer "www.buch.ch" said sales for December had doubled compared to the same period last year.

Others, such as "www.lesen.ch", "www.bol.ch", and "www.books.ch", also reported strong sales, and said they expected the market to continue to grow substantially over the coming year.

Industry pundits agree that, despite strong growth this year, online book sales will really start to take off in the next two years. Receipts in 2000 are expected to reach SFr4 million ($2.41 million), rising to SFr 9.6 million in 2002, and doubling the year after that.

Much of the rise is being attributed to increased consumer confidence in shopping on the web following improvements in technology and logistics, which have made payments more secure and deliveries more reliable.

Despite the growth in online purchases, they still make up a small proportion of overall book sales. Andreas Grob of the Zurich bookseller, Orell Füssli, said most people still prefer perusing the shelves for their books.

He added that just 15 per cent of sales made during the peak selling period in December were made online or by telephone.

swissinfo with agencies

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