Following its announcement the day before Thanksgiving that it had enhanced its Web site, the stock of Books-A-Million enjoyed a price surge known only to Internet companies. The bookseller's stock, which had been selling at $3.06 before the Web announcement, rose to nearly $40 at the close of business on November 27. On Monday, November 30, BAM's stock hit a high of $47 per share before it started a steady decline that drove its stock price down to $16 per share on December 2.

The stock increase was based on nothing more than BAM's announcement that its improved Web site would offer members of its Millionaire's Club discounts of up to 46% on selected hardcovers; a 37% discount on all other in-stock hardcovers, and a 28% discount on paperbacks. BAM executives did not return repeated calls by PW to determine such details as how many titles it was carrying, how many customers had bought books from its site, or how much it was prepared to invest to promote the site.

A number of BAM executives and other insiders, however, did register with the SEC during the stock run-up to sell hundreds of thousands of shares. It was not clear at press time if those sales went through. Among those who filed with the SEC were company president Clyde Anderson who registered to sell 258,000 shares, and J l Anderson, brother of BAM's chairman, who was looking to sell 171,000 shares. In addition, BAM chief financial officer Sandra Cochran registered 55,450 shares while Terrance Finley, senior v-p of merchandising, registered 32,400 shares.

Late last week, BAM announced that Finley had been named president of the division and that Scott Honnold, BAM v-p and treasurer, had been appointed chief financial officer for the unit.