Bibliopolis and Bookhound - Birds of a Feather
By Karen Wright
I had been trying to download my antiquated Access book inventory to Bookhound 7c through Biblio.com off and on for months. Bibliopolis, creators of Bookhound, allows the bookseller to download Bookhound 7c free through Biblio.com. I really liked the features and the way it worked, but every time I tried to download my inventory into it, I ran into a snag. Biblio couldn't download from my inventory either, because it wasn't in any of their standard forms. So finally, with encouragement from Biblio, I found Bibliopolis online and lo and behold, their offices were in Berkeley, California. Berkeley happens to be one of our favorite towns and it is just five hours from us. We decided to go talk to the Bibliopolins and see what they were all about. I called them on a Wednesday and we went in down to the Bay Area on Thursday to chat for an hour.
My husband, the navigator, got us there without incident. My stories wouldn't be complete if we didn't talk about food. Before we went to our appointment, we had to stop for breakfast at Bette's Oceanview Diner on Fourth, less than a block away from the Bibliopolis offices. All I can say is - try Bette's if you love breakfast and gooey pastries. It's essentially an upscale diner, but the prices are reasonable and the food is yummy!
Then, tummies full, it was off to their offices. They are in a neat, old, revamped, corrugated, industrial tin building on Fifth Street, just off the freeway. I knew I would like Luke Lozier, Mathew Jones, and Alan Green, the partners in Bibliopolis, the minute I walked in the door and was greeted by Betty and Penelope. Betty is a part Rottweiler, maybe part lab mix with a sweet smile and a taste for doggie treats which are always present in my jeans pocket. Penelope is a tiny, fuzzy, cute pooch who is quite content to sit in Mat's lap and help him with the computer work.
Between the three men, they have more than forty years experience with books and computers. All of them come from San Francisco bookstore backgrounds with Luke Lozier having worked for William Stout and Alan Green having worked with Green Apple Books. Luke and Alan were primarily responsible for setting up the computerized aspects of their respective bookstore's businesses. Mat Jones had worked in bookstores, but really had come from a pure computer background.
According to their website, "Our mission at Bibliopolis is to help independent booksellers establish, maintain, and grow their Internet presence with easy-to-use products and services that can evolve when the market demands it." We found this to be true. The three men have owned the present company for five years, but before that Bookhound/Bibliopolis was the brainchild of Alan and a former partner. Their primary purpose was designing databases for booksellers. Luke started his company in 1999 called Bookseller Solutions, building bookstore websites. At that time, Luke and Alan found themselves working together at times on projects and decided it was a natural partnership. They partnered up with Mat, the computer whiz, and now their primary focus is to build websites for booksellers and get Bookhound distributed more widely.
In order to get their excellent product out into the bookselling marketplace, they formed an affiliation with Biblio.com to offer Bookhound free to booksellers. One did not have to list books on Biblio.com to use Bookhound, but why not do so since Biblio.com doesn't have a monthly fee; they only charge a commission on sales. Our interview was pretty much a casual, open discussion, so hopefully, I have equated the correct quote to the correct speaker, but at least all the info is here.