GSA adds online bookseller to procurement schedule

The General Services Administration added online bookseller Fatbrain.com to its GSA Advantage! schedule last week, giving federal employees discounts on a variety of professional works and training materials. A subsidiary of Barnes & Noble.com, Fatbrain.com is the only e-bookstore on the schedule that specializes in professional and scientific works. After making its name in the private sector by providing information management services as well as technical materials, the bookseller applied for entry to the lucrative business-to-government sales market. Under the schedule, federal purchasers will receive discounts of 12 to 40 percent on book titles and free shipping. "Our success and experience in working with corporations has allowed us to do business in the government market," said Dennis Capovilla, chief executive officer of Fatbrain.com. Three hundred and fifty of the Fortune 1000 companies are Fatbrain.com customers. Fatbrain.com offers two general services that may interest federal procurement officers: A series of subject-oriented bookstores that sell training and technical materials and a "learning marketplace" where employees can take Web-based training courses. To address agencies' security needs, Fatbrain has created a special section of its site for GSA customers. The federal government spent nearly $70 million on books and publications in fiscal 2000. Fatbrain.com hopes to do $7 to $8 million worth of business with the federal government this year. "There is a huge market for business and training services within the government, and we think our solution works well for government agencies," said Dan Rush, vice president and general manager of products with Fatbrain.com. Fatbrain.com merged with Barnes & Noble.com in November 2000, incorporating its business solutions group, which had competed with Fatbrain.com for industry and government customers. Fatbrain.com will assume control of Barnes & Noble.com's existing contracts with federal agencies. Fatbrain.com's contract with GSA runs through Sep. 14, 2005.
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