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Electronic book tokens move a step closer
24.08.09 | Victoria Gallagher
The Booksellers Association has said that the launch date for its Electronic Gift Card (EGC) scheme will be announced "soon" as the pilot scheme appears to be "going very well" across bookshops.
The Bookseller revealed in March that the trade-wide pilot scheme would run from June onwards. Alex de Berry, commercial director of National Book Tokens, said: "The pilot testing is going very well, hundreds of customers, including our chain customers, have taken the opportunity to run a few test transactions. The idea has really been to allow booksellers to try processing the EGC in their shops in readiness for their customers come launch day. Our customer service team have been on hand and any queries are being resolved quickly."
Gary Kingdon, of Badger Books in Burnley, said that despite a few initial problems with the website he has tested the device and any problems had been resolved in under 48-hours. "Everything is working well with it for now," he said. Sarah Payne, from Chiltern Book Supply in Aylesbury, called the pilot "fantastic" and said the cards were "easy to use".
National Book Tokens said its own customer service team had been getting feedback from indies throughout the pilot. De Berry said "the majority have found the system easy to use". De Berry added: "We have also been in close contact with our chain customers who have experience of gift cards and are positive about the benefits that this new system will deliver both in reduced admin and increased sales."
He said that the testing period had shown that the scheme works well, but would continue to be monitored. No changes to the system were anticipated.
When initially announced in May 2006, the BA had scheduled the launch for between 2006 and 2007. At its 2008 a.g.m. the trade body said the gift card scheme would come on stream in early 2009. In April De Berry said the BA wouldn't set a definitive launch date as it didn't want to create a "Heathrow Terminal 5 situation".
Speaking for this news report, De Berry said: "Our launch date will be announced soon, there are a few tasks that we need to complete and we do not want to set a false deadline for these."