Summary:

As the clock on Borders’ website alliance with Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) ticks to a close in April, the retail bookshop company is gearing up for…

As the clock on Borders’ website alliance with Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) ticks to a close in April, the retail bookshop company is gearing up for its solo run. Borders began testing its new e-commerce site late last year. The new website is viewed as crucial part of its year-long bid to turnaround a series of financial losses. Among the ways Borders hopes to compete with Barnes and Noble, as well as its soon-to-be erstwhile partner, Amazon, is by trying to offer great degrees of interactivity, Reuters reports.

Added services instead of low prices: In particular, Borders is looking for ways to sell MP3 downloads. The company wants to extend its current “mix and burn” service, which allows consumers to come into a store and create their on CDs from a variety of songs. As for achieving greater interactivity, Borders is working on a “concept” or specialty store within the larger site. Borders also wants to let the 23.5 million members of its loyalty rewards be able to take advantage of the service online, something else that hasn’t been available. One thing it’s not interested in is being the lowest-priced operator. Rob Gruen, EVP of merchandising and marketing at Borders, tells *Reuters* that the bookseller is betting that more services, not lower prices, will draw consumers.

Getting the right look: So far, the beta site is cosmetic, since users can’t actually buy anything on it yet. The company has tried to provide a proximate effect of being in one of its physical stores with its “magic shelf,” a virtual bookcase with recommended books and music. Separately, as its partnership with Amazon began winding down, it struck up a new pact with *Sony* on the electronics company’s eBook store. The Sony (NYSE: SNE) site will eventually be integrated with Borders’ new site, and could help Sony beat back the recent challenge to its eReader from Amazon, which unveiled its own ebook device, Kindle in November.

By David Kaplan

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