Biblio Offers Free Inventory Management/Uploading Software <i>BookHound</i>
By Michael Stillman
Biblio.com moved into the field of free inventory management software with the announcement last month that it would be offering the BookHound program, developed by Bibliopolis, at no charge. While undoubtedly Biblio is hopeful that those who take advantage of the free software will post their books on the Biblio site, there are no such requirements. Anyone may download and use the software, for internal recordkeeping or online posting on any sites, with no fees or obligations.
BookHound has been around for ten years and, according to Biblio, is currently used by hundreds of booksellers and stores around the world. However, the arrangement with Biblio now makes the software available without charge. Meanwhile, developer Bibliopolis continues to offer, for a fee, website development, maintenance, web hosting and e-commerce tools for booksellers.
This partnership between Biblio and Bibliopolis provides a similar offering, and perhaps competitive response, to AbeBooks' recent purchase. Abe has long provided free inventory management/bookselling software, HomeBase, slated for an upgrading in the near future. Recently, AbeBooks purchased Chrislands, which provides web hosting and e-commerce for bookselling websites for a fee. Now, Biblio/Bibliopolis offers the same combination of free inventory management, which can be used with any website, and a paid web hosting service.
In a press release, Biblio's President, Allen Singleton, stated they had chosen to make the BookHound software available because "Bookhound is the clear choice in terms of superior quality, flexibility and interoperability for our booksellers." CEO Brendan Sherar expanded on the benefits Biblio hopes to gain from this free offer: "We believe that delivering a high quality, mature product for inventory management will materially contribute to the growth of their [booksellers] businesses, and therefore, to ours as well." Similarly, Bibliopolis expressed the hope that free access to their BookHound software will increase demand for the other products they offer.
In a reverse of the order we normally expect, Biblio first made the program available for Apple customers, those who use Mac OS X. Perhaps the idea was to have it tested first by a limited number of people, or maybe they are among the small, but rabidly devoted and growing number of Mac users. However, the version for Windows XP and Vista is scheduled to be released on July 1.