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Thursday, July 23, 1998 Published at 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK

Business: The Company File

Net book boom

Bookstores may become a thing of the past, the internet bookseller, tripled its sales in the latest quarter and added nearly a million customers as the boom in electronic commerce continued.

Amazon still made a loss of $21.2m in the quarter - but its stock has been soaring through the roof.

The share price has tripled since April from $45 a share to $134, valuing the company at some $2bn.

The company's sales for the quarter were $116m up from $27m a year ago. It now has 3.1m customer accounts, and two-thirds of order are from repeat buyers.

The company, which claims to be the world's largest bookstore, stocks 2.5m volumes which can be ordered on-line and posted to customers.. is now expanding into on-line record and video sales. In April, it bought UK internet bookseller Bookpages Ltd, Telebook and Internet Movie Database Ltd.

Jeff Bezos,'s founder and chief executive, said the pace of expansion would not slacken.

"These initiatives will continue to require aggressive investment and entail significant execution challenges," he said.

Around $5.4m of the losses were due to write-offs of goodwill relating to the new acquisitions.

Internet stocks have been enjoying a huge share increase in the last few months, as hopes of increasing commercial use of the net have grown. Among the big gainers have been search engines Yahoo and Lycos, and technology company Inktomi.

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