Virgin Megastores has launched an e-commerce site that carries books, music, videos and games. With 300,000 music titles, extensive video offerings and a small book menu that it plans to enlarge, the site ( hopes to compete with established cyberretailers such as Amazon. com, Virgin e-commerce president Glen Ward told PW.

Although Ward acknowledged that his company started later than many bricks-and-mortar competitors, he believes that with Virgin's devoted customer base, cross-promotion and, eventually, in-store kiosks, any lost ground will be recovered.

At the moment, book selections on Virgin are paltry (it will initially offer only about 1000 titles). But that should soon change. "Just as we carry everything from jazz to Japanese pop in our music department, we hope to offer book titles right across the board," Ward said. He added that the number will greatly exceed the book titles available in Virgin's physical megastores.

Currently geared to the U.S. market, the site will turn its attention to the U.K., Europe and Japan by the end of 1999. "The timing is fine in America, but in the rest of the world we can really be in the vanguard," Ward noted. As for distribution, the company will use Valley, a Sacramento, Calif., music wholesaler, which will also help fulfill book orders -- at least in the beginning.

Virgin Books, meanwhile, has some e-commerce visions of its own. The publishing imprint is working on a site that will sell "about 500" of its titles in the U.K., according to site head Mark Bennett.

The imprint, distributed to the American trade by London Bridge, specializes in pop-culture biographies and encyclopedias.