A 2005 interview with The Skipper and The First Mate - owners of Electronic Book World since 1998 - by Sarah Greaves-Barnett.
Q. What goes on at Electronic Book World?
A. This is an online book store and club where you will find books that we have enjoyed, are still enjoying or would like to enjoy. If our tastes and that of our visitors coincide, they will find plenty to enjoy here and, if not, the exits are clearly marked!
Q. Do you specialize in a particular kind of book or stock all kinds?
A. The answer is yes on both counts! At the moment, we specialize in several categories, including modern boating and maritime history, fine art, animals, music, the 'for Dummies' series and gardening books - a somewhat eclectic mix, we don't mind admitting.
On the other hand, you can purchase any book you want, even if you don't see it on this site, by going to Amazon.com via the links on our pages. As affiliates, we are paid a small commission on sales made to visitors from this site, which helps to keep the wolf from the door!
Q. Do people really buy books through the Internet? Isn't it risky?
A. Yes they really do and no, it isn't risky, just as long as you deal with reputable traders and steer clear of the cowboys and pirates. That's why we asked companies like Amazon, ClickBank, MoneyBookers and PayPal to do business with us - we only want to team up with those that are reputable and have solid track records.
Q. Is Electronic Book World all automated or does running an online book store involve a lot of work?
A. The sales part of the work is done for us by the companies and authors we deal with but there is plenty to do, adding new books as we discover them, creating new reviews and maintaining the website in working order. It is doubtful we would ever opt for complete automation. It's too impersonal and open to failure and anyway, it wouldn't be half as much fun!
Q. Do you not feel that the competition is overwhelming, with so many huge websites offering much larger ranges of books for sale?
A. No, not at all. The supermarkets will always have more customers than the corner stores, but then things would get very crowded if it were the other way around!
We like to think that people come back, and many of them do, because they like the fact that ours is not just another impersonal mega-site. Visitors from all over the world seem to stick around long enough on their first visits to remember us and come back regularly, so we must be doing something right!
Q. Do you both work on the website?
A. No! The Skipper is a total technophobe! He does most of the reading and reviewing and the First Mate does all the computer stuff.
Q. Do you each have a Top Ten list of books you would want with you on a trip around the world?
A. That would be a tough one! How Electronic Book World started, in fact, was because we discovered that you could carry a thousand books around on a single CD. You can imagine the appeal for people like us who live on a boat where everything is always vying for the available space! We both like the look and feel of printed books, though, so there are always a few on board.
We both like novels by people like Tom Sharpe, John Grisham and David Baldacci, seafaring yarns by people like Alexander Kent and Patrick O'Brian, art books such as the collected works of Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and Salvador Dali, poetry by Edgar Allen Poe, verse by Ogden Nash, the list is endless. Please don't ask us to choose just ten, we'd never manage it!