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Radwell Joins BookSpan, BooksOnline
Calvin Reid -- 4/3/00

BookSpan, the joint book club partnership between Doubleday Direct, Bertelsmann's U.S. book club unit, and Book-of-Month-Club, the Time Warner book club unit, has named Seth Radwell president and CEO of Booksonline Inc., the Web portal for BookSpan clubs, and executive v-p of BookSpan. And although the two book clubs have merged operations, Malka Margolies, a spokesperson for BookSpan, told PW that there will be no staff reductions.

In his new positions, Radwell, former president and CEO of Doubleday Direct Interactive, will oversee Booksonline.com, a Web site that served as portal to the former Doubleday book clubs, as it is converted into a site offering access to all the BookSpan clubs. Radwell will also manage e-commerce and new product development for the BookSpan clubs. Radwell joins Mel Parker, formerly with BOMC, who was named senior v-p and editor-in-chief of BookSpan last week. Parker will direct the editorial staff of the combined clubs.

Radwell said that his goal is "to make our book clubs more competitive on the Web. That is one of the primary ways we intend to grow the clubs under the new venture." He said that Booksonline will provide "all the advantages and features our customers have come to expect," including editorial pre-selection, competitive pricing, availability of popular titles and customer service. Radwell noted that Web sites for individual book clubs will be enhanced with interactive features, reviews, chat areas, interviews, excerpts and content not available through the club's direct mailings.

Margolies also told PW that, rather than layoffs, the firm expects "to increase staff as we roll out Web sites for those clubs that do not have them." She also said there will be new clubs launched on the Web under BookSpan.

BookSpan also announced several other appointments. Ellis Cousens, senior v-p and CFO of BookSpan, will manage the financial operations. Georg Richter, executive v-p and COO of BookSpan, will manage warehousing, distribution and fulfillment operations. Thomas Tribious, senior v-p, will manage BookSpan's information technology operations. Derek Reicherter has been named senior v-p for the newly combined new and current member marketing groups of the former BOMC clubs. Lucia Kluge will assume the same role for the former DDI clubs.

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