Developed as a complement to the Gale Encyclopedia of E-Commerce, E-Commerce Sourcebook combines a variety of information including approximately 100 how to topical entries covering the most commonly asked questions relating to e-commerce, such as how to write business and marketing plans, secure financing, and evaluate candidates for designing a website. The volume also covers directory listings of approximately 4,000 associations, consultants, and other organizations related to e-commerce as well as the top 250 leading e-commerce companies worldwide. Also contains a general index to organization names, personal names, and subject terms.
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The Gale E-commerce Sourcebook and the Gale Encyclopedia of E-commerce have received much-needed updates from their original 2002 editions. As pointed out in the Encyclopedia, many topics now included “did not exist ten years ago.” These volumes are meant to complement each other but can each act as a stand-alone reference, depending upon the interests of the individual user. The two-volume Encyclopedia is designed to be a general-reference source focused on the e-commerce industry and related subjects, while the Sourcebook places its emphasis on information specifically related to “the start-up, development, and growth of e-commerce business.” The Sourcebook has been condensed into one volume, divided into three parts: how-to topics; a directory of associations, consultants, and industry organizations; and a directory of leading companies. The 96 how-to essays are the greatest strength of the book, covering key topics including digital authentication, consumer-privacy issues, and supply-chain management. These essays are well written and informative; each is followed by suggestions for further reading. However, these essays are relatively short and make up significantly less than one-third of the book. Directory entries list basic data for each company, along with a one-paragraph description. The leading-companies section includes annual revenue and total employees for each company. The price tag for the Sourcebook seems excessive for a one-volume work, especially when directory-style information, leading-company revenue, and employment statistics can be compiled from a number of other sources. Libraries considering purchasing this volume should carefully consider alternatives, such as Plunkett’s E-commerce and Internet Business Almanac (2012), a less expensive paperback. --Jennifer Michaelson
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