CMGI Writes Net Book-Finder an $18 Million Check

SAN FRANCISCO (04/05/2000) - Alibris, an online company that helps customers locate hard-to-find and out-of-print books, has raised $30 million, including some funding from Ingram Book Group, a leading book wholesaler, and $18 million from CMGI AtVentures.

Other investors in this round include Bedrock Capital Partners; Weiss, Peck & Greer Venture Partners; and Aberdare Ventures. Each of those companies participated in Alibris' early rounds, which raised a total of $25 million.

"This validates the huge potential of this market," says Martin Manley, president and CEO of Alibris, which launched its Web site for consumers in November 1998.

The company also sells to libraries and retailers. Far from sleepy, the book market is a $100 billion industry, with about 30 percent of that spent on hard-to-find books, according to Charlie Finnie, general partner with CMGI AtVentures. Alibris, based in Emeryville, Calif., can save retailers money in hunting down the books their customers want while helping dealers get book retailers' attention, he says. "One of the areas we are focusing on is b-to-b market makers, which are intermediaries that sit between buyers and sellers in large markets like hard-to-find books, which makes up a surprisingly large part of the overall book market," Finnie says. "This is one of the most compelling b-to-b plays I've seen this year."

Backing from Ingram, based in LaVergne, Tenn., means more than just funding for Alibris. Had Ingram decided to put its own business online, the competition might well have overwhelmed the smaller company. Instead, Ingram's chairman, John R. Ingram, is joining Alibris' board of directors. Ingram also is adding Alibris' hard-to-find book inventory to the Web-based merchandising, title reference and ordering tool it provides to booksellers, libraries and publishers.

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